2012 Draft Class: Mathew Dumba
Red Deer Rebels defenceman embraces role as risk-taker, looks ahead to draft & more
|Mat Dumba has collected 16 goals & 41 points in 53 games this season (Photo courtesy of the NHL / Getty Images).
Spend another chatting with him and you'll bear witness to the passion, understanding, raw emotion and dedication he has, complementing the above and cementing his name as one of NHL Central Scouting's most intriguing young men.
As difficult as it may be to paint the passionate picture, his game-breaking knack is easy to pinpoint. As an explosive skater with a dynamic two-way pulse, Dumba patrols the ice with conviction; bone-crunching hits are the norm on one side, while a crafty offensive engine helps drive his role as one of the WHL's most lethal scorers on the backend.
It's a unique, unmatched skill-set that should help the 17-year-old foster a long and prosperous career in the NHL someday soon. With the attitude and realistic outlook he possesses, you can bet on it.
"I started the season well and then had about a month where I didn't feel as though I was playing my best game," he said. "I needed to bear down, look in the mirror and evaluate what I was doing wrong. I knew I needed to get more engaged in the game. In the last month, it's been really good for me. I'm working really hard and learning new things every day to incorporate in my game.
"I needed to make sure I was going out there, having fun and playing Mat Dumba's game again."
He's done that. In 53 games this season, the 6'0", 183-pound rearguard has collected 16 goals and 41 points, along with 53 penalty minutes and a respectable -1 rating. That's all come in addition to his heavy physical presence, which rounds out the youngster's game as a thrilling, high-risk/high-reward staple on the Red Deer Rebels' blueline.
As much as Dumba embraces his role as a risk-taker, he's equally as aware that he'll need to buckle down and shore up any potential deficiencies, noting that mistakes are often magnified at a higher level, such as the NHL.
"Sometimes making the easier, simpler pass is the better play," he explained. "I overcomplicate things and want to do too much out there, sometimes. That can maybe be seen as a bad thing, but I'm really passionate about it and want to make a difference out there. I need to make sure I'm picking and choosing my spots correctly, going when the time is right and getting back quickly. With (General Manager and Head Coach) Jesse (Wallin) and the coaching staff, they help me all the time with that, and I think it's getting better as I go."
Fresh off his experience at the CHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna in which he tallied a +1 rating in his squad's 2-1 defeat, Dumba returned to Red Deer and continued his torrid mid-season pace, turning heads with greater emphasis on pedigree as the 2011-12 campaign winds down.
As the talented blueliner explains, there's no better place to develop than in a hockey-mad metropolis, 1.5 hours north from his home in Calgary.
"It's pretty amazing, actually," he said with an ear-to-ear grin. "My parents always come to games in Red Deer. It's pretty cool having my friends making it to games so close to home, too. At the same time, it's still moving and it was a challenge for a 16-year-old to adapt to when I did.
"I absolutely love it in Red Deer. I've learned so much about the city. You don't realize how big it really is, which is hilarious, because so many people think it's only Gasoline Alley when you drive through. It's a huge community, they love their players and we have the best fans in the league. I wouldn't want to play anywhere else."
That is, until an NHL team comes calling. On June 22-23 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the league's annual entry draft will be held. Dumba, currently ranked seventh among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, isn't caught up in the understandable and sometimes overwhelming emotion of what could be.
Instead, he's harnessing the energy and broadcasting it to help better himself and his team's run to the post-season.
"I get to bring that excitement to the rink every day," Dumba said, passing off any nervousness in stride. "It's motivation to come to the rink and perform with my team and incorporate them both on a daily basis. I get to come to the rink and do the thing I love, and now I could potentially earn a career doing it, too. At the same time, I'm really focused on my team and helping my teammates be better and win games, and that's all that matters right now."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Dumba is wrapped in a team-first mentality. He's an optimist and a delightfully skilled leader, both on the ice and off.
"It's all about building character," he said. "We started the season hot, going 14-4 and it seemed like everything was going our way and nothing would slow us down. We ran into some trouble and ended up on a 13-game losing skid. It was tough, really tough. It was difficult to produce wins, but as a team we pushed through that adversity."
Now they're back, knocking on the doorstep of a post-season berth.
"Going through that adversity made everyone better," Dumba added. "Our character and our resolve were tested, but we battled game-in and game-out. That experience will help us all."
He speaks like a seasoned veteran. And he plays like one, too.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick
Oilers Prospect Stats Updated as of Thursday, February 16, 2012.
|20||27||2||3||5||-2||117||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||47||9||19||28||+13||14||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|21||40||21||7||28||7||13||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||39||13||17||30||+4||46||Kootenay ice (WHL)|
|18||-||-||-||-||-||-||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|34||25||9||14||23||+12||23||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|20||38||5||5||11||+3||6||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|21||35||10||11||21||-2||10||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|25||44||4||9||13||+10||21||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|27||47||16||21||37||+21||26||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||3||0||1||1||-1||2||HPK Hameenlinna (sm-liiga)|
|20||31||5||9||14||-13||10||stockton thunder (ECHL)|
|24||9||3||7||10||+4||4||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||38||8||9||17||+14||58||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||49||20||16||36||+29||74||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|19||36||4||6||10||-6||22||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|20||43||14||12||26||-9||16||ilves tampere (sm-liiga)|
|25||46||10||16||26||-12||32||vaxjo hc (SEL)|
|18||46||33||31||64||+22||21||kitchener rangers (OHL)|
|25||48||12||10||22||+9||35||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||28||2||7||9||+7||27||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|24||48||4||10||14||-2||25||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||17||3||18||21||+14||16||Victoriaville tigers (QMjhl)|
|19||31||3||11||14||11||21||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||58||12||29||41||+23||73||regina pats (wHL)|
|18||46||8||36||44||+37||44||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|18||28||0||0||0||-2||2||farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)|
|19||15||4||5||9||+1||4||regina pats (WHL)|
|22||26||0||1||1||-3||16||Timra ik (seL)|
|18||47||3||16||19||+9||90||vancouver giants (WHL)|
|25||24||4||3||7||+4||19||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|22||33||1||11||12||+13||72||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||29||1||12||13||0||4||u. of north dakota|
|21||24||2||6||8||+8||41||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|19||52||34||14||4||2.58||.922||medicine hat tigers (WHL)|
|30||31||21||8||1||1.94||.928||oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||9||-||-||-||3.79||.889||Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)|
|20||30||10||15||5||2.50||.925||stockton thunder (echl)|
|20||17||6||5||5||2.59||.900||jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)|