There are a lot of questions about the Minnesota Wild going into the 2022-23 season. This all despite the fact that the team set franchise records for wins and points the year prior, finishing 2nd behind the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division standings.
There has been one question in particular that has been hanging over the heads of the franchise and fans alike going back even further: what will happen with Matt Dumba and how will it impact the Minnesota Wild NHL Odds 2022?
Currently the Wild sit at 10th in the favorites to win the Stanley Cup according to ClutchBet sportsbook, with an odd of +2800.
Dumba as a Player
As a player, there is a lot to like about what Dumba brings to the ice. The 7th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has been a staple in the lineup since he played 58 games in the lockout-shortened 2014-15 season. As a 20-year-old, he posted 8 goals and 16 points, not looking out of place.
He would continue to improve over the next handful of seasons, improving in goals, assist, points, and average time on ice (TOI) through years 2-4. In year 5, the 2017-18 season, the 23-year-old defenseman would have a breakthrough. His 14 goals, 36 assists, and 50 points all matched career-highs.
The problem is that he has since peaked as an offensive weapon. Injuries have definitely been a factor as well, with Dumba playing more than 60 games just once since his banner year. Given that Dumba plays a physical role for the Wild, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Name me one Wild player who shows more determination, more fight, more will and competitiveness than Matt Dumba? I don’t get the disrespect he has been getting from this fanbase. Power horse in fact deserves better. Hope the MACHINE is part of our plans moving forward. pic.twitter.com/K2AQ6o0nXS
— Ryan (@boldyszn) September 20, 2022
The problem with Dumba is two-fold. Injuries continue to be a concern for him and there was a shoulder scare last year. He isn’t huge but plays a physical brand of hockey. That style has shown that it takes a toll on his body.
Given that his offensive game has tapered off since his 4th full season, there are also concerns about whether he can ever come close to matching those totals again. It would be one thing if he were a game-changer while in the lineup, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The real problem, however, is his contract. He is in the final year of a 5-year, $30 million extension that he signed in the 2018 offseason. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023, meaning that he can take offers from all suitors.
Given his $6 million cap hit currently and the premium that the league as a whole puts on defensemen, it stands to reason that he is due for a sizable raise. That is, of course, unless he misses substantial time during the 2022-23 season. If injuries continue to be a problem, it could seriously hinder his demand on the open market.
Given that he is a physical defender who can skate well and still chip in the quality offense when he’s healthy and dialed in, that type of player will be in demand. The question becomes whether or not the Wild can afford Dumba and want to have him tied into their long-term plans.
get yourself a hype man like Matt Dumba pic.twitter.com/XakOsp76Lf
— connor (@Connor_779) April 30, 2022
Potential Trade Candidates
The issue is compounded even further by the developments with Kevin Fiala this summer. Fiala finished last year with 85 points, the 2nd-best total in the history of the franchise linemate Kirill Kaprizov’s 104-point effort.
Despite being just 26 and coming off his best season, Fiala was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in the offseason. He was then given a new deal paying him $7.875 million per season. The Wild are tight against the cap already and re-signing Fiala became impossible.
There appears to be a similar situation unfolding with Dumba. His potential suitors are remaining to be seen because nothing formal has been discussed.
Right now, the usual suspects are teams like Los Angeles Kings, Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, and Ottawa Senators. Those are all young, rebuilding teams that have a plethora of cap space now and potentially into the future.
The matter becomes whether any (or all) of those teams are on Dumba’s limited no-trade clause. There are 10 teams on that list and that could potentially throw a trade into disarray.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) October 30, 2020
What Will Happen
Right now, the most logical course of action will be a “wait and see” approach. The Wild are in a position where it is not out of the realm of possibility to expect them to contend for both a division title and Stanley Cup in 2022-23.
Having said that, they have a major obstacle in their path in the form of the defending division and Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. Dumba will remain with the team for the bulk of the year, helping the team along.
The most realistic situation is that Dumba could become a trade deadline casualty. If the Wild are in a spot of contention, they may just keep him, roll the dice, and see how things play out in the offseason. But it is very likely that Dumba will not be with Minnesota for 2023-24.
Credits on Featured Image: Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro) – Own work, CC0