A Matt Dumba Reunion Might be Wild’s Best Option to Replace Jared Spurgeon
The Minnesota Wild are floundering and there doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel. They lost again on Thursday night, their fifth L in six games, and surrendered 7 goals in the process. Surprised by that number? You shouldn’t be. In this half-dozen game stretch of disaster, the Wild are allowing an average of 4.7 goals per game.
The only win during that time came on Monday, via Marc-Andre Fleury shutout. But if you pull that misnomer victory out of the equation, the Minnesota Wild have allowed 5.6 goals per game in that stretch. Tonight, they’re on the ice again for the second half of a back-to-back.
Minnesota Wild determined to win more games
It gets worse. Yesterday afternoon, the team announced that their struggling blue line will be without Captain, Jared Spurgeon for the remainder of the season, due to hip and back injuries that require separately scheduled surgeries.
Still, there’s no sign that Wild president of hockey operations, Bill Guerin, is planning to shut things down for the season, in hopes of more ping pong balls during the draft lottery. According to multiple reports out of The Athletic, Minnesota’s front office has already turned its gaze toward the pending unrestricted free agency trade market, in hopes of finding a suitable 1/2 season replacement for Spurgeon.
Guerin wouldn’t publicly admit that he plans to pull off a hail mary trade but Michael Russo and Joe Smith both seem to expect Billy will do something of significance.
“We’ve got a lot of defensemen here,” Guerin said. “We’ve got six guys playing well right now, two guys in the stands right now that have played well and contributed. Whether we use that (trade market) or not is TBD. We’ll see. We could. I just don’t know yet.”
The Wild’s third pair is currently Dakota Mermis and rookie Daemon Hunt, both left shots. The two “guys in the stands” are veteran defensemen Alex Goligoski (who has played over 1,000 games) and Jon Merrill. You have to wonder what they’re thinking with Guerin indicating he could explore trading for a D-man with them spending the last few games in the press box.The Athletic
I guess we all should expect Guerin, and Wild owner Craig Leipold, to keep grasp of their playoff hopes for as long as possible. Still, trading away any future assets to try and save this season seems like bad business.
But my opinion doesn’t matter. If the Minnesota Wild are dead set on trying to save their season, my thoughts aren’t going to stop them. And now that they’ve turned their attention to the pending UFA trade market, they’ve probably realized already who the most obvious top target should be.
Matt Dumba coming home to replace Jared Spurgeon?
That’s right, it’s Matt Dumba.
One of the more intriguing names is a familiar one: Matt Dumba. The former longtime Wild defenseman checks a lot of the boxes as a pending UFA with not a bad cap hit ($3.9 million) and with familiarity with the team and the area.The Athletic
Matt Dumba’s video tribute pic.twitter.com/h3YLkmajjZ— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) January 14, 2024
The Arizona Coyotes are ahead of the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference standings but only by four points. In other words, they are anything but a real Stanley Cup contender. Dumba only signed a one-year contract in Arizona so he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, which is exactly what Guerin is shopping for.
Timing might be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a Dumba + Wild reunion. The trade deadline isn’t until March 8, so the Arizona Coyotes have more than a month and a half to figure out how they want to handle the deadline and whether or not they will be buyers or sellers.
If they indeed go into sell-mode, Dumba will be prime candidate for buying teams to come in and scoop up out of the desert. Unfortunately, if the Minnesota Wild do not get help for their blue line IMMEDIATELY, they won’t be buying anything at the deadline.
That doesn’t mean the Coyotes wouldn’t be willing to part with Matt Dumba now. But the price would probably be a lot higher than it would be in the first week of March, if they are indeed sellers by that point.