5 Players New Jersey Devils Could Get in “Hockey Trades”

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 22: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild skates in the first-period against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on February 22, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 22: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild skates in the first-period against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on February 22, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Matt Dumba (D), Minnesota Wild

Not everyone will be on board with this particular scenario, but it’s compelling nonetheless. Since his season-ending injury last year, Matt Dumba hasn’t been the same. Whether it’s one or a combination of him still not being 100 percent healthy or this current Minnesota Wild team hurting his offensive capabilities, you have to figure Dumba’s discouraging season is raising concerns. Throw in how he’s being outperformed by Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, and Jared Spurgeon, the 25-year old defenseman is in an awkward position.

The Wild probably aren’t ready to write off Dumba just yet, especially since his play has improved since January—seven points in last 11 games. Minnesota’s playoff aspirations are fading and first-year General Manager Bill Guerin could see the coming weeks as a time to begin putting his own twist on this roster. Between Dumba’s injury-riddled 2018-2019 season and slow start this year, the Wild might not be opposed to relieving themselves of his $6 million AAV. They presently have about $2.6 million in cap space, but need to re-sign pending RFAs Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, and Carson Soucy, all of whom may wind up with seven-figure AAVs.

This isn’t to say they won’t give Dumba away solely for the sake of doing so, and acquiring him would be costly. The New Jersey Devils may have to send a package including the 1st-round pick acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, along with a combination of 1-2 of their top prospects and/or 1-2 young roster players.

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You can argue trading for a defensively inept blue liner like Dumba is more detrimental than beneficial for the Devils—especially given the current state of their backend—but if he manages to rediscover his pre-injury game, it winds up being a franchise-changing steal.