Minnesota Wild first round draft selection Matt Dumba made a big impression this past week at development camp. The defenseman who stands 6'0" but weighs just 185 pounds did his best to throw his weight around in front of two big crowds gathered at Xcel Energy Center.
"It's just part of my game now and it is a key component," said Dumba on his physical play. "If the time is there and the hit is there, I'm going to take it. It's never something I'm looking for, but if it pops up I'm going to take it."
Dumba admits it was a long week, but the experience was invaluable.
"I think the veteran guys help a lot just kind of showing you the way. Each daywe had something to do," said Dumba. "We went from practice to power skating and stick handling sessions to off ice conditioning. We were very busy."
The Wild selected Dumba seventh overall in this past NHL Entry Draft. Teamsmade runs at defensemen leading up to the Wild's selection. In all eight of thefirst 10 picks were blue liners, and Dumba had no idea the Wild were interestedin him.
"It was a surprise to me but when it happened I was just overwhelmed with happiness. My whole family was so happy," said Dumba. "My mom started crying, Ithink my little brother started crying, my dad was just so happy. I was just happy having them all there."
Much of the fan buzz surrounding the current prospects is in Finish forward Mikael Granlund. Dumba had a front row seat this week to watch his fellow teammate and was impressed by what he saw.
"He's so skilled, his hands are unbelievable," said Dumba. "He's a great guy too. He's really a leader out there. He's always working hard when it comes to the rink, putting in work and effort at all times. It really sets the bar for all the younger guys."
The Wild saw 14,000 fans enter the gates at the ‘X' for the two scrimmages which caught Dumba and fellow prospects a bit by surprise.
"I shouldn't have been so surprised, the fans are tremendous here," said Dumba."I know everyone here likes their hockey so why not get a little taste in the summer."