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  • The Wild should hand Matt Dumba the keys to their power play


    Dumba, as many Wild fans will know, is perhaps the most dynamic defenseman Minnesota has had since Brent Burns. His combination of speed, shot, and offensive instincts is a treat to behold, and deadly for opponents in open space. Dumba's already had a bit of time on the power play, but not much. His 63 minutes is good for only 9th on the Wild. This is despite him being productive on the man advantage, where he has 3 goals and 2 assists.

    It's not just the skills or the points, though. It's how he's been able to threaten goalies when he's had the opportunity. Dumba leads the Wild with 32 PP shots, which is actually good for 21st in the NHL. This is particularly impressive since just about everyone ahead of him on that list has double or triple Dumba's ice time on the PP. When you account for ice time, Dumba personally takes 30.33 Shots per 60 minutes. That's insane. Here are the Top-5 in Shots/60 on the power play this year:

    Dumba's not just leading the league in this category, he's practically lapping the field. And this isn't exactly a fluke, either, he was 17th in the NHL last year in Shots/60. His ability to not only generate shot attempts, but to actually get them to the net has been special.

    Now, shots don't look like much of an issue for the Wild- again, they're about middle-of-the-pack in that category- but that doesn't account for Dumba's impact. When the Wild have Dumba on the power play they shoot the puck 57.0 times per 60 minutes, a mark that plummets all the way down to 47.1 when Dumba's off the ice. If that seems like a big difference to you, it's because it is. 57.0 Shots/60 would be the second-best figure in the league behind Washington, and the Dumba-less Wild power play would only manage to be 24th.

    At the same time, having both of them on the ice at the same time leaves the Wild without an offensive threat at the perimeter on one side of the ice, allowing defenders to cheat towards Zach Parise. Moving Dumba into that mix solves that problem, giving the Wild a second major shooting threat, and allowing more space for Parise to do his thing. Giving Dumba minutes that reflect his power play prowess is an easy way to improve that part of the Wild's game.

    The need to improve on the man advantage is even more critical because of the Wild's inability to draw penalties. They've only gotten 22 power play opportunities in the last 12 games, getting 1 or fewer chances in 7 of those. When you're not drawing penalties, the key is to maximize your chances at getting goals when you do get calls. The Wild simply aren't maximizing their odds if they continue to use Dumba and his absurd shooting ability sparingly.

    The time for inefficiency is over. The Wild need to give Dumba more chances to do what he does best.

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