As per Michael Russo of The Athletic, “Matt Dumba will be a healthy scratch tonight. Hockey decision, not injury. Wild head coach Dean Evason noted to the media of his chat with Dumba about the decision, “We had a real good meeting. He knows why he’s sitting out tonight.” Russo reports that Alex Goligoski will be inserted into the lineup and cue the trade chatter surrounding Dumba, who was already mentioned by TSN’s Darren Dreger as a possible target for the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.
With only a few weeks until the NHL Trade Deadline, any scratch from the lineup will be seen by some as a sign that a trade may be imminent. Teams will often pull players to avoid the risk of injury and just ahead of a deal. That may not be the case for Dumba, but talk of his possibly being moved will still take place considering talk that the Wild have no intention of re-signing him this summer as a pending UFA.
Considering this is being labeled a hockey decision, it also changes the narrative Dreger outlined when he discussed the fact the Wild might be hesitant to move Dumba, simply because they need him in the lineup as they continue to strive for the best possible playoff spot. If they’re choosing to sit him, people will ask, ‘How much do they really need him?’ That could change the perspective on how much the Wild value Dumba this season and how much they might prefer upgrading that position.
Is this a sell-low opportunity for another team to come in and grab the defenseman? Perhaps this is something the Oilers are considering as they have scratched Jesse Puljujarvi for two games and talk of his being moved is out there as well. The only issue for the Oilers is money. They don’t have the cap space to take on Dumba’s salary (at least not without 50% being retained and possibly a third team being involved.)
The Senators look like the most logical fit here. They’ve been searching for a defenseman for some time. Rumors were out there they were interested in Jakob Chychrun but the price was too high. If the acquisition cost on Dumba is much lower, perhaps this is a move that makes sense for the Senators who want to add, despite the fact their season hasn’t gone as planned.
Dumba was drafted by the Wild in the first round, seventh overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut during the 2013-2014 season. He has been with the team ever since and until now, was considered an important part of their defensive core.
Next: Timo Meier Considered Top Trade Target for New York Rangers
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