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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Matt Dumba

Mathew Dumba, D
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, 7/25/94
Bio: 6’0, 183 lbs., R
Red Deer Rebels, WHL
Rankings: ISS – 6; CSS – 11 (NA)

The Skinny: Mathew Dumba’s ability to generate momentum through offensive prowess and an outstanding physical presence makes him an extremely intriguing prospect even among this year’s deep defensive crop.

Despite the horde that constitutes the available top-end defensemen in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Mathew Dumba stands out. He’s been on scouts’ radars for years and in 2012 has blossomed into a perfect example of an ‘Impact Player’.

Of course, for Dumba, the ‘impact’ can be taken quite literally. The 6’0 defenseman from Calgary is more than capable of delivering timely, bone-crushing hits. This physical element has earned him comparisons to the likes of Dion Phaneuf and PK Subban, among others.

The WHL’s Rookie of the Year in 2010-11, Dumba grabbed an outstanding fifteen goals and twenty-six points in sixty-two games with Red Deer. He’s been tabbed as a leader and has worn a letter both for Red Deer and as captain of Team Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (where they won gold). This year, he exceeded those totals significantly – almost reaching a point-per-game and accruing twenty goals in the process.

Dumba’s performance at the Under-18 tourney opened even more eyes to his potential as the seventeen year-old became the first defenseman to lead the tournament in scoring with seven goals and twelve points while captaining Canada to a bronze-medal finish.

This physicality and situational awareness (a killer instinct, if you will) are augmented by his wheels. Dumba possesses some of the best skating chops of any prospect in the draft and impresses both north-south and east-west with outstanding lateral agility.

Simultaneously, Dumba has outstanding attacking instincts. He can distribute effectively from the point – effectively finding lanes and creating opportunities for teammates. He also has a blast of a point shot, (he registered a 91.8 mph slapper at the CHL Top Prospects skills competition) so he’ll find equal time working as both a powerplay quarterback and triggerman at the next level.

Dumba has a bit of a ‘gambler’ attitude as well. Extremely competitive, he sometimes rolls the dice on chancy plays to push the envelope offensively, which occasionally put his teammates in bad situations.

There are some concerns that Dumba’s style of play won’t translate at the next level, given his ‘average’ size. There are similar worries about durability because of his relatively slender frame and crash-and-bang play. He’ll need to add pounds to help assuage these and other concerns about his ability to handle net-front pressure at his height.

Still, Dumba’s upside might be as high as any blueliner in 2012. Right now he looks like a surefire top-ten selection, potentially the first defenseman taken and some even argue that there’s an outside possibility for him to be one of the first two off the board in June. In any case, he’s a gem with worlds of potential.

Ideal Fits: Teams shallow on blueline talent (particularly attacking defensemen) – Edmonton, NY Islanders, Minnesota, Columbus.

Why Your Team Will Take Him: Because he’s a charismatic defender with oodles of upside at both ends of the ice.

Why Your Team Will Pass on Him: Because they want a ‘safer’ pick; because one of the premier forwards is on the table; because his ‘gambler’ style is not what they’re looking for.

Strengths: Shooting, Physicality, Skating, Puck-Control, Playmaking,Intangibles, Aggressiveness

Weaknesses/Concerns: Size, Strength, Defensive Acumen

Projection: Top-Pairing, Two-Way Defenseman (20g, 55p potential)

Predicted 2012 NHL Draft Range: First Round, 2-6

Overall Rank: 5

N.A. Rank:4

WHL Rank: 2

Defenseman Rank: 2

Canadian National Rank: 2

Bob is the Boston Bruins correspondent for The Hockey Writers and a credentialed member of the Providence Bruins' Media.

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