Matt Dumba a healthy scratch for Wild. ‘He knows why he’s sitting out,’ coach Dean Evason says
RALEIGH, NC — Matt Dumba wasn’t on the ice Thursday as the Wild continued their journey in Carolina, but injury didn’t rule out the defenseman.
The Wild did.
For the first time in nearly seven years, Dumba was a healthy scratch.
“I won’t go into detail,” coach Dean Evason said, “but he knows why he’s out.”
Evason described the demotion as a “hockey decision” indicative of Dumba’s performance.
Alex Goligoski took Dumba’s place alongside Jonas Brodin. The only other roster change the Wild made was in the slot, with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury starting after Filip Gustavsson started the trip Tuesday in Washington.
“Every time you take someone out, there’s a reason, isn’t there?” said Evason, who said Dumba handled the information professionally. “There’s some play that we think justifies a guy not playing in a hockey game, and that’s it.”
It was the first game Dumba missed all season, and the last time he was knocked out healthy was April 5, 2016, against San Jose.
He was nearly scratched the following season but ended up playing because a teammate was sick.
Dumba said he was “pretty surprised” by the decision, calling it the “organizational decision”, and he felt his game had been “really good”, although he mentioned that he had been “a few plays” in the Wild’s 4-2 win over.. the Capitals and that he “wasn’t happy with them either”.
Before picking up an assist on Brodin’s second-period goal, Dumba was on the ice for Washington’s first count when Martin Fehervary skated between Dumba and Mats Zuccarello to complete a back-and-forth into the Wild’s net.
Overall, the Capitals recorded 15 of their 39 scoring chances during Dumba’s shifts, according to Natural Stat Trick, but it wasn’t the team’s maximum. What was worse, however, was the expected 2.4 goals while Dumba was playing.
“I never gave my best,” said Dumba, who has four goals and eight assists in 43 games. “Mistakes happen, and I was excited, we got two points there. Some guys stepped up and played really well. That’s what a team does, pull each other up. We don’t we’re not all going to have it from night to night.
“I guess maybe it wasn’t exactly one of my best nights. I thought from the little time frame at the start of the year, I thought my game was really consistent.”
Before being benched, Dumba was already under the microscope due to his contract status.
With unrestricted free agency looming and in the final season of a five-year, $30 million deal, the 28-year-old backup captain could be traded before the March 3 deadline. Even if he stays put, Dumba could still be nearing the end of his tenure in the Wild since the team is expected to have limited salary cap space in the offseason.
After being drafted seventh overall in 2012, Dumba spent his entire NHL career with the Wild, posting 79 goals and 155 assists for 234 points in 562 games to rank fifth in team history among defensemen. .
“It’s tough,” said Dumba, who won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in recent years for his leadership, community contributions and dedication to hockey. “Try not to listen to anything. Yet it comes back to you somehow. That’s just life. The struggle in life, whatever happens to you, I think everyone, we We all have a vision of how beautiful Our future will be, it never seems to go exactly in that direction.
“Right now there are ups and downs. I will work hard and try to move things in the direction I want.”