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Draft Profile: Mathew Dumba

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Each weekday leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22, will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s eighth pick. Previous Profiles: Cody Ceci | Related Links: 2012 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History

“Vigorously active or forceful; energetic” is how the word “dynamic” is defined.

Michael Smith
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Based on the highlights package above, you can see why Carolina Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald used that word to describe defensive prospect Mathew Dumba.

At only 17 years of age, Dumba is ranked 11th among North American skaters by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service, a slight down-tick from his seventh slot at midterms. The 6-foot, 175-pound blueliner has a big shot and is an even bigger hitter in the open ice.

“He’s probably one of the more dynamic players in the draft at any position,” MacDonald said. “He’s got a very tremendous compete level.”

In the 2011-12 season, Dumba led his team defense in scoring with 57 points (20g, 37a) for the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels, junior team of Cam Ward, Brandon Sutter and Brett Sutter. He led the Rebels – who finished ninth in the Eastern Conference and failed to qualify for the playoffs – in power play goals with nine, and his point total ranked sixth among WHL defensemen.

In the World Under-18 Championship this April, Dumba captained Team Canada to a bronze medal, recording 12 points (5g, 7a) in seven games. He had 3 assists alone in Canada’s 5-4 overtime win over Finland in the bronze medal game.

BIRTHDAY: JULY 25, 1994 (AGE 17)

“He’s the kind of player who wants to make a difference in a game,” MacDonald said. “He tries to put his fingerprints all over it.”

Like fellow top prospect defenseman Cody Ceci (profiled here), Dumba was one of just three 2012 Draft-eligible blueliners invited to Team Canada’s 41-man World Junior Championship camp. Dumba didn’t survive past the first round of cuts, but at just four months beyond his 17th birthday, simply receiving an invitation was an impressive feat. And, as he has talked about, he had to remind himself that players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyler Seguin had also been cut from the team at one point. Hurricanes’ All-Stars Ward and Eric Staal never made the team, either.

The World Junior camp experience, Dumba has said, helped him focus on doing the little things right in the second half of the season with Red Deer. He didn’t pay attention to draft rankings, he deleted his Twitter account and Facebook page and he re-focused on the sport he is so passionate about.

Look to see that same work ethic in the NHL, wherever Dumba might land. And don’t look for his physicality to go by the wayside, either. Speaking specifically on the Hurricanes needs, a defenseman who can provide a momentum spark by not shying away from an open-ice hit has to be considered.

Dumba’s dual offensive and physical, defensive presence draws comparisons to Red Deer alumnus Dion Phaneuf, who was selected ninth overall in the first round of the 2003 Entry Draft. A Calgary native whose mom is Filipino and dad is Romanian and German, Dumba is also being compared to Drew Doughty, who was selected second overall in the first round of the defensive-heavy 2008 Entry Draft.

Some scouts see Dumba as a high-risk pick, as his defensive-zone instincts are a bit weak and his physical play can raise flags about injury concerns. That being said, the rewards could be plentiful as scouts toss around buzz phrases like “dynamic,” “special” and “having the X-factor.” For these reasons, don’t be surprised if Dumba cracks the top 10 on draft day.

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