|Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today|
Last night, the Wild took one on the teeth courtesy of the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 at Xcel Energy Center. Leading up to, during, and after the game there was a lot of talk regarding Matt Dumba and the fact that this is his ninth game of the season (any games played after nine, burns a year off the entry level deal).
So far this season, Dumba has one goal and one assist and holds a -2 rating in his nine games played. He has at times, shown he can play in this league, but there have been other times where you kind of say maybe he needs to go back. The question now stands as to whether the team does actually send him back to Red Deer (since he is under 20, he can not be sent to the AHL).
Luckily for Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo, they have three days (could be more if they decide to scratch him) to make up their minds. But they both have to ask, how much more can he really learn from playing in Red Deer?
He can learn a lot by spending the season here with the team. They can continue to give him starts and have him sit a game or two in the pressbox along the way while learning from his fellow defenseman and the coaching staff on how to adapt and grow in the NHL. This is the choice Fletcher, Yeo, and company should make.
Its risky to hang on to him, but the team has learned they could use him in an injury crunch rather than bringing someone up from Iowa (Brodin and Ballard are still out of the lineup). The team has already made it clear that burning a year off his ELC means nothing, so that should be a good indicator that he will be remaining here.
Take away last night's nervous performance, and you are telling yourself that Dumba has done a good enough job to stay up here. Everyone has a bad game, and Dumba is no exception to that fact.
A vote of confidence from the team would do Matt Dumba a lot of favors, so I for one vote to keep him up here. And if you are saying it did not work in the favor of James Sheppard and Colton Gillies, you should know that neither are even close on the talent level as Dumba. That, is his greatest advantage.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell