Dumba has been inconsistent, understandable for a 19-year-old defenseman. He scored his first goal Oct. 12 against Dallas but also caused a 2-on-0 disadvantage against Tampa Bay and a Florida breakaway in consecutive games last week.
Yeo said part of Dumba’s adjustment from junior hockey is understanding he doesn’t have time to make that extra move at the blue line anymore. He was scratched against Nashville.
“[Tuesday night], I focused on guys like Spurg [Spurgeon] and Suts [Suter], how they move around the ice and their efficiency,” Dumba said. “I need to use that in my game, always being in the right position and moving the puck up ice quickly.”
Dumba has played six games. After he plays in nine, the Wild will decide whether to return him to Red Deer of the Western Hockey League. Yeo thinks that landmark is in Dumba’s head and has caused nerves.
Fletcher repeated Wednesday that in his mind, the 10-game threshold in which the first year of Dumba’s three-year contract is burned isn’t nearly as important as the 41-game threshold in which the first year toward Dumba’s seven-year unrestricted free agency status burns off.
“He’s just got to play and not worry about that stuff,” Fletcher said.
“Our defensive structure has been excellent all year. The way we move the puck … the coaches have done a great job implementing the system, and the players have bought in. We have the depth to overcome Jonas’ injury.”