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Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Be Interested in Matt Dumba

The Maple Leafs need help on defense. Is the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba the answer?

Perhaps this has nothing to do with the post I’m writing, but perhaps it does. Obviously, the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba is one of the good guys. During a very cold Minnesota winter, he stopped to help a stranded motorist. What’s more, Dumba was embarrassed when his good deed went viral. Obviously, he’d like to be one of the quiet guys, not drawing undue attention to himself.

What interests me about Matt Dumba is that I believe he’s a great defenseman – perhaps one of the best in the NHL. The Wild are rumored to be willing to trade Dumba in the right deal, and recently the The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta suggests might be to the Maple Leafs. Dumba would certainly fit the team’s need and, of course, Kapanen would be part of that deal.

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In fact, in 2012, Elite Prospects noted that Dumba was a “spectacular defenseman” who combined offensive skills, speed, and physicality. The site added that he “Has a cannon of a shot from the blue and puts up points on a regular basis. He is an impressive open ice hitter and will be even better with additional muscle mass. Defensive play could use some fine-tuning. Has leadership qualities.”

In the eight years since that initial prognosis, the 25-year-old Dumba has grown into the role that was described here. He’s a quality young defenseman who has experience and skill. To obtain him, obviously, the name Kasperi Kapanen comes up often as a trade chip; however, Pagnotta doesn’t think Kapanen would be enough for Dumba and suggests the package might also include Cody Ceci, whom the Wild could trade to another team.

It’s certain that trade works for the Maple Leafs from a give-and-take situation. However, Dumba won’t come cheaply – either by trade or by contract. Although he comes with term on his contract and is signed through 2022-23, his cap hit is $6 million per season.

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Although that means some creative book-keeping by Kyle Dubas for next season, having a top-four defenseman like Dumba would set the team’s defense for the foreseeable future. Now, with news that the Maple Leafs are nearing a contract extension with defenseman Jake Muzzin, the likelihood is that Dubas likely sees his top four for next season as Muzzin, Morgan Rielly, Rasmus Sandin, and whomever the team gets at the trade deadline or during the summer.

That likely means that current defensemen Ceci and Tyson Barrie would likely be gone, which theoretically would give the team enough salary-cap space to sign Dumba. Obviously, I’m just speculating here, but I’m throwing it out there that it would be a good trade for the Maple Leafs – as well as do-able.

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