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2012 Draft Class: Mathew Dumba

Red Deer Rebels defenceman embraces role as risk-taker, looks ahead to draft & more

Thursday, 16.02.2012 / 7:25 PM / Features
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
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2012 Draft Class: Mathew Dumba
Mat Dumba has collected 16 goals & 41 points in 53 games this season (Photo courtesy of the NHL / Getty Images).
Edmonton, AB - Spend a moment watching Mat Dumba play and you'll see what's sparked so much interest in this prospect's all-encompassing ability.

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.


Forwards


Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Cameron Abney   20 27  2 3 5  -2 117 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Mark Arcobello   23 47  9 19 28 +13 14 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   24 40  5 10 15    0 8 Novokuznetsk Metallurg
Philippe Cornet   21 40 21 7 28    7 13 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   19 39 13 17 30 +4 46 Kootenay ice (WHL)
Travis Ewanyk   18 - - - - - - edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Josh Green   34 25  9 14 23  +12 23 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Curtis Hamilton   20 38 5 5 11   +3 6 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Teemu Hartikainen   21 35 10 11 21   -2 10 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Tanner House   25 44 4 9 13  +10 21 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kellen Jones   21 26 10 15 25   0 35 quinnipiac university
Ryan Keller   27 47 16 21 37 +21 26 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Milan Kytnar   22 3 0 1 1   -1 2 HPK Hameenlinna (sm-liiga)
Ryan Martindale   20 31 5 9 14  -13 10 stockton thunder (ECHL)
Linus Omark   24 9 3 7 10  +4 4 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Ryan O'Marra   24 38 8 9 17 +14 58 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kristians Pelss   19 49 20 16 36 +29 74 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 36  4 6 10  -6 22 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Toni Rajala   20 43 14 12 26  -9 16 ilves tampere (sm-liiga)
Liam Reddox   25 46 10 16 26 -12 32 vaxjo hc (SEL)
Tobias Rieder   18 46 33 31 64 +22 21 kitchener rangers (OHL)
Hunter Tremblay   25 48 12 10 22  +9 35 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Antti Tyrvainen   22 28 2 7 9  +7 27 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Chris VandeVelde   24 48 4 10 14  -2 25 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Defencemen
Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Kyle Bigos   22 25 3 11 14   0 76 merrimack college
Jeremie Blain   19 17 3 18 21 +14 16 Victoriaville tigers (QMjhl)
Taylor Chorney   19 31 3 11 14   11 21 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)
Brandon Davidson   20 58 12 29 41 +23 73 regina pats (wHL)
Martin Gernat   18 46 8 36 44 +37 44 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Oscar Klefbom   18 28 0 0 0   -2 2 farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)
Martin Marincin   19 15 4 5 9   +1 4 regina pats (WHL)
Johan Motin   22 26 0 1 1   -3 16 Timra ik (seL)
David Musil   18 47 3 16 19  +9 90 vancouver giants (WHL)
DYlan YEO   25 24 4 3 7  +4 19 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Alex Plante   22 33 1 11 12 +13 72 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Dillon Simpson   18 29 1 12 13   0 4 u. of north dakota
Colten Teubert   21 24 2 6 8 +8 41 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Goalies
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
Tyler Bunz   19 52 34 14 4 2.58 .922 medicine hat tigers (WHL)
Yann Danis   30 31 21 8 1 1.94 .928 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Samu Perhonen   18 9 - - - 3.79 .889 Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)
Olivier Roy   20 30 10 15 5 2.50 .925 stockton thunder (echl)
Frans Tuohimaa   20 17 6 5 5 2.59 .900 jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)
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