The Wild’s midyear acquisition of goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the team’s primary season-saver, but the emergence of 20-year-old defenseman Matt Dumba cannot be overlooked. After Saturday’s victory, Minnesota is 34-13-1 with Dumba in the lineup, and his ability to carry and shoot the puck has given the team’s blue line another dimension. Dumba, also well-liked in the Wild locker room, chatted recently with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q Family is very important to you. Where does that start?
A I think it starts with my parents always, always having a family-first mentality in our household. Now I just carry that with me. I love my family. They’ve supported me through so much, and I’m very thankful for them. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.
Q Jonas Brodin is one of your best friends on the team. When did you become close?
A When I was 17, we were roommates for my first development camp, so it started there. And then these last couple of years, sitting together and being two of the younger guys, we’re always hanging out. We’re really good buddies.
Q What is Calgary, where you grew up, all about — hockey-wise and otherwise?
A Just an awesome city. Everyone loves hockey, loves the Flames. There are outdoor rinks everywhere throughout the winter, and I had one in my back yard. That’s where I found my love for the game.
Q You and your younger brother are in charge of the music for the Wild pregame. How did that come about?
A It’s kind of just one of those things where in preseason, I would get coaxed into it. [Teammates] would get tired of listening to the same old thing, and they kind of liked my stuff. I bring a little of the younger feel, upbeat, so I kept doing that. Eventually Zach [Parise] and some of the older guys told me to just put the music on. I run it in the room and out on the ice. I don’t know anything about the whole DJ thing, but my little brother has kind of taught himself and that’s what you hear in the warmups.
Q What are you listening to these days?
A I’m a big rap and hip-hop guy. A lot of Slaughterhouse, J. Cole, a little Drake. … Rap probably isn’t the choice of everyone, so we mix a lot more house music in.
Q Everyone talks about your hard shot. How did you develop that?
A I think just growing up, I watched [Jarome] Iginla for so many years in Calgary, with that one-timer, just leaning on it. I use the same type of curve almost. It’s just one of those things where I worked on it so much, shooting pucks in the backyard rink. It’s one of my niches, and I’ve just gone with it.
Q This roll you guys are on is pretty impressive. Does it ever feel like, ‘How do we keep doing this?’
A No, because this is what you play for. You play to win every night and we’ve been fortunate to get lucky here or there. But honestly it’s just been a great group effort. It’s been a relentlessness with the team, and we’ve just bonded together. Everyone trusts everyone as a whole to go out and do their job. It’s been pretty special.