Never think that a National Hockey League team takes time off. Oh no. Earlier on Saturday morning, in the wee hours of the night, it was revealed that the Minnesota Wild completed a move every member of their fan base was hoping for.
Early this morning, the Wild have avoided arbitration with Matt Dumba and have signed the 23-year-old defenceman to a five-year, $30 million contract extension, according to multiple reports.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was first with the story, very early this morning.
The $6 million average annual value makes Dumba the third highest player on the Wild behind two star veteran players, forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Sutter. Quite the pay raise for the young blue liner.
Dumba was set to have an arbitration hearing set for Monday; both camps managed to settle this deal to avoid the meeting. Dumba had filed for that arbitration hearing back on July 5.
Many people expected Dumba to cash in big this summer, after having a great season with the Wild in 2017-18, tallying a career-high 14 goals and adding a career-high 36 assists for 50 points in 82 games played. Dumba also had one goal and one assist in five games in the postseason, before his team was eliminated in the first round by the Winnipeg Jets.
Dumba, who was selected in the first round, seventh overall in the 2012 NHL Entry draft, was coming off a two-year, $5.1 million contract signed prior to the 2016-17 season.
The Wild still has one scheduled arbitration meeting with forward Jason Zucker, who is expected to have his hearing on July 28.
Zucker cashed in $2 million last year, but he is expected to get a massive pay raise after tallying 33 goals last season. Many expect him to make somewhere in the $5 million range this time around. The forward has admitted he would love nothing more than to stay in Minnesota for the coming years of his career.
“I want to be in Minnesota; I love Minnesota,” he told Twin Cities Pioneer Press on Tuesday after a speaking engagement at the Wild Leadership Summit. “My family roots are now here. This is a second home to us and I want to be here. We have a great team. We have a lot of really good things going for us. … If it was my choice, I’d be here playing for the Wild next season.”
However, Zucker's name has been at the centre of trade chatter since the beginning of the summer, especially since new general manager Paul Fenton took over the team back in May.
“I’m trying not to think about, and even when I do think about it, it’s part of the business,” he said. “If I get traded, it is what it is and I’ll look forward to a fresh start. That said, I would love to be here. This is where I want to be. That is Option A. And the rest is out of my control.”
Let's see what the Wild does next, and maybe it will happen once again in the middle of the night...