Matt Dumba had a birdie putt waiting for him on the fifth green at Black Mountain Golf Club in Kelowna, British Columbia on Friday afternoon.
As he approached the green, his phone buzzed, delivering the life-changing news.
"All of us just huddled around, kind of listening to the phone on speaker, and my agent told me [about the contract] and we just started screaming," Dumba said. "Everyone on the course was looking at us. It's just surreal. It's beautiful. No better way of doing it."
Dumba was on the course with his younger brother, Kyle, his father, Charlie and a good friend of his dad when the group rolled up to the fifth hole.
By the time the group closed the book on the 372-yard, par-4, golf was the furthest thing from the minds of the foursome. They played a couple more holes and made their way to the clubhouse for some celebratory beverages.
"I've gotten to know the people of Minnesota and my teammates, coaching staff, it's a bunch of different things that go into it that made me so happy that I'm staying there," Dumba said. "It has become home for me. It was a no brainer. I'm thrilled."
Dumba, who was a restricted free agent, filed for arbitration earlier this month. His hearing was scheduled for Monday, but he had little interest in having it go that far.
He certainly had no desire to take his hockey playing talents elsewhere.
Now, he won't have to.
Dumba and the Wild agreed to a five-year, $30 million contract, keeping Dumba through the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
[RELATED: Track all of the Wild's free-agent moves at Wild.com/freeagency.]
"The State of Hockey has been so good to me. I love Minnesota, I love the atmosphere, the fans and it does bring a sense of home for me, coming from Calgary," Dumba said. "Just the way people ... appreciate their hockey, I think that was a big one for me."
Since being selected seventh overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, Dumba has steadily improved his numbers both offensively and defensively.
His 50 points last season were fifth overall on the club and second among defenseman, one behind Ryan Suter. But his plus-15 rating was second best only to his primary defensive partner, Jonas Brodin, who was plus-23.
After playing in 13 games with the Wild during the 2013-14 season, Dumba skated in 58 in 2014-15, becoming a regular in his third pro season. Over the past three seasons, Dumba has missed a total of just seven games, playing in all 82 for the first time in 2017-18.
Over that span, Dumba has seen his goals, assists and points numbers increase each season; from 10 goals and 26 points in 2015-16, to 11 goals and 34 points in 2016-17. Dumba scored 14 goals last season -- tops among Wild blueliners -- and reached 50 points for the first time in his career.
The Wild hopes that trend continues as he moves into his prime years.
Dumba is one of just four defensemen over the past decade to have scored 10 or more goals in three consecutive seasons before turning 24; Drew Doughty, Aaron Ekblad and Dion Phaneuf are the others.
"When you look at it in that light, and you're seeing it going forward as possibly getting better, then it certainly made sense for us going the term that we did," said Wild General Manager Paul Fenton.
Dumba's $6 million-per-year average annual value now ranks third on the team behind Suter and Zach Parise and ties for 20th among all NHL defensemen, according to the website capfriendly.com. Considering Dumba finished 19th among defensemen in scoring last season, his contract would seem to represent fair market value.
Of the 22 NHL defensemen making the same or more per season, Ekblad of the Florida Panthers is the only one who's younger than Dumba. The 23-year-old Regina, Saskatchewan native outscored Ekblad, 22, by 12 points last season.
"They elected [to go to arbitration] and if we went two years out and Matt did the same thing [he did last season], we just saw the number as being that much higher," Fenton said. "From a logic standpoint, it made sense to us. We still see that he has a lot of room to grow, and if you, two years from now, if we had gone to a five-year term, I think you'd see the AAV would have been much higher."
Dumba, who has come of age in a Wild uniform along with a number of other players over the past few years, feels his best years -- and those of the team -- are yet to come. He's also become an active member of the community, serving as a volunteer and spokesman for ACES and other charitable causes.
And those are just two of the reasons he was so excited to stick around.
"Nino, Brods, Granny, Charlie, Zucks, to keep a group like that together from when we all first game in together is pretty special," Dumba said. "I do believe we do have something really, really strong here, so I think we can make a push. It's exciting to think about it that way.
"I'm still the same old Matty that everyone's gotten to know. That's not gonna change. If anything changes, it's gonna be just that constant drive to accomplish something that we haven't and get past that second round of playoffs and get to that Stanley Cup. I think our time is now, and we gotta start talking about it now and getting everyone on that same page."
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