6 feet tall
Born: July 25, 1994
2016-17 Team: Minnesota Wild
How Acquired: 2012 Draft (First round, seventh overall)
With steady progression in each of his first three seasons with the Wild, Matt Dumba is poised to make a big jump on the Wild blue line this season.
The 2012 first-round draft pick is stepping into a bigger role on the Wild to enter 2017-18. Given the loss of Marco Scandella on the blue line this summer, Dumba will now be a mainstay in the team's top four, and Bruce Boudreau is even considering giving him time along side the team's top defenseman, Ryan Suter.
When the Wild drafted Dumba in 2012, they were drafting him as a defenseman who could project to be on their top pair. This was just a few weeks before the team signed Suter, and they were drafting at a position where they had almost no depth either at the NHL or prospect level.
Dumba, 23, is very much an offensive minded defenseman on the blue line. He skates well, typically can make a good breakout pass (he will, on occasion, make a bad pass that goes the other way), and possesses a great shot which can be seen at its best on the power play.
There is also has somewhat of a physical presence on the blue line, from Dumba. As he will shell out a punishing hit from time to time, but not that often.
While the offensive game grows (and will continue to grow under Boudreau), it is Dumba's defensive game that comes into question at times. As said before, he will make an errant pass that the opposition will take the other way and it felt like more times than none last year, those mistakes ended up in the back of the net. The past two seasons, Dumba has led the Wild in giveaways. However, look at who has the most in the league during that same time and maybe that stat is a bit overrated.
Also mentioned before, Dumba is going to step into a larger role on the team this year. If Dumba does end up getting time alongside Suter, his ice time (averaged 20:19 last year, up nearly four minutes from 2015-16) will increase significantly. With more ice time, especially if that comes alongside Suter, you should see Dumba iron out his defensive game some of those flaws on the defensive side of things. He will also no doubt see an increase in points as well, as his 11 goals and 34 points in 2016-17 was a career high for him.
Minnesota's training camp opens tomorrow, and Dumba will open the camp alongside Jonas Brodin (a much more stable partner than the one he mainly had last year, Marco Scandella). It is a contract year for Dumba, as he will be a restricted free agent at season's end. Should he have another big year, the Wild will no doubt have to look at locking him up long term.
Check back on Friday to see who comes in at No. 1!
No. 3-Joel Eriksson-Ek
No. 4-Jonas Brodin
No. 5-Luke Kunin
No. 6-Jordan Greenway
No. 7-Mike Reilly
No. 8-Gustav Olofsson
No. 9-Kaapo Kahkonen
No. 10-Dmitry Sokolov