Editorials

New York Islanders Should Pursue Matt Dumba

By Christopher Lizza
ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild controls the puck against Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets as teammate Devan Dubnyk #40 defends the net during the first period in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Jets defeated the Wild 2-0. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild controls the puck against Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets as teammate Devan Dubnyk #40 defends the net during the first period in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Jets defeated the Wild 2-0. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Everyone knows the New York Islanders need to significantly improve their blue-line this off-season. They have major assets they could deal to make this a reality. The Minnesota Wild could be an ideal trading partner.

The New York Islanders President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Lou Lamoriello should aggressively engage in trade talks with Minnesota to land a top-flight defenseman. The target is Mathew Dumba.

Dumba is a heck of a young player in this league. He has good size (6’0, 184 lbs), plays a two-way game, is gritty, and doesn’t turn 24 until mid-summer. He is also coming off a terrific season, posting 14 goals along with 50 points, and a plus-15 rating.

Clearly, in building this Islander team now and moving forward, Dumba would be on the short list of defenseman to acquire. Of course, Minnesota would have to be willing to listen. He would be a monster pickup for the blue and orange.

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The Wild

The big question before getting into any trade discussions is why would Minnesota entertain such an idea? They may not but here are a couple of reasons why they would listen intently.

Minnesota is now run by new General Manager, Paul Fenton, and he will probably try to re-make the look of the Wild. The Wild have depth on defense and trading Dumba now could fetch a huge return.

The other big reason is the Wild are strapped up against the cap. Even with an increase of the cap next season (estimated to go up between $3 – $5 million), Minnesota still would be in a tight situation.

The Wild currently have a little over $7 million in cap space (before the new increase) and have to sign restricted free agents Jason Zucker and Dumba. Both are in-line for huge increases. The fact that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are signed through the 2024-25 season with an annual cap number of $7.538 million really hamstrings the Wild now and moving forward.

Those two reasons could create an opening for trade talks.

The Cost

Even if the Wild would listen to the Isles and Lamoriello on trade proposals, make no mistake the trade cost would be very high. Figure the Isles would have to give up either Minnesota-native Anders Lee and one of the 2018 first-round picks or Kieffer Bellows, a first rounder and a prospect such as Robin Salo.

Lee (top 5 goal scorer in the league the last 2 years) only has a cap hit of $3.75 million this coming season but is an unrestricted free agent after next year. Fenton could acquire Lee and then move a forward such as Nino Niederreiter to get young assets in return including a young defenseman.

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Next: Isles Free Agent Possibilities for the Third Line

It’s possible the door could be open for the Isles to land Dumba. Even at a hefty price, the Isles should do everything they can to bring Dumba to Long Island.

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