Mathew Dumba was rather Wild about his brief NHL experience.
The Rebels star defenceman was on his way back to Red Deer Sunday after spending two weeks with the Minnesota Wild, who kept him in the press box for four games but insisted he had earned his stay with a strong showing in training camp.
Dumba, who was also kept around as insurance, was returned to the Rebels when Minnesota defencemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella came off the injury list.
While he never got into an NHL game, the 18-year-old insisted the experience was invaluable.
“Coming into training camp, I didn’t expect anything like this. I didn’t expect to stay around. It was a real good experience for me being able to stay up for these two weeks and just take it all in,” Dumba told Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune.
“I think that’s huge for me, getting to know the guys personally and just knowing what it takes to be at this level. The things that happen every day, just being in the locker room, just the little stuff, the workouts, just everything that goes along with being in the NHL I’ve taken away from this.”
Dumba admitted he was disappointed he never got into a Wild uniform.
“I would have loved that for sure. I’d be lying if I told you otherwise. But I’m OK. I’m OK. The experience that I did have up here was great,” he said.
He added that the entire process provided hime with a boost of confidence.
“I’ll have a ton (of confidence),” he said of his state of mind when rejoining the Rebels. “Just having this experience under my belt, I should be steps ahead of other guys throughout the league. I’m going to go back there with that confidence and that swag to play my best game and be confident and play with poise and be good . . . Hopefully next year it sets me up well.”