The Minnesota Wild felt that Mathew Dumba was (a) exactly what they were looking for in Friday’s NHL entry draft or (b) the best player available at No. 7.
Either way, Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr insisted the organization got a good one in the Red Deer Rebels outstanding defenceman.
“Matt is an exciting, young, right-shot defenceman with an excellent combination of skill, mobility and physicality,” Flahr told Mike Doyle, the club’s media coordinator. “He’s been a leader and a point producer everywhere he’s gone.”
While Minnesota was tickled with the pick, Dumba was over the moon.
“I’m so thankful for the Minnesota Wild, the opportunity they are giving me and their faith in choosing me in the first round,” said the six-foot, 183-pound rearguard.
Dumba is familiar with St. Paul — the home of the Wild — after attending the 2011 NHL entry draft at the Xcel Energy Center.
“It’s a hockey state, right by the border in Canada,” said Dumba. “This opportunity is so amazing and I look to embrace it.
“I Love St. Paul. It’s a great city in a great state and I’m so thrilled to be there. It’s a world-class organization and I’m so happy right now that it’s hard to explain.”
The Calgary product was no less enthusiastic while expressing his feelings on a blog he composed for NHL.com.
“When Minnesota said ‘Red Deer’, that’s all I heard,” he wrote. “I knew it was me. That was cool. My family was really excited. They were saying just how proud of me they were. Mom was crying, she didn’t say anything. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was talking to me and said congratulations. He was excited for me as well.”
And then, the approach to the stage . . .
“Going down the stairs, the cameraman told me to slow down because I was going too fast,” Dumba blogged. “I was racing to get up to the stage. It was pretty cool.
“When I shook hands with the commissioner, he said ‘welcome to the NHL’ and I squeezed his hand pretty tight. Sorry, but I was pretty excited.
Pulling on that Wild jersey, it was amazing. You stand on the little ‘x’ and put the jersey on. It was so cool. Just everything, this whole experience has been awesome.”
Rebels netminder Patrick Bartosak is a candidate to be selected when the second to seventh and final rounds of the draft are conducted today.”