Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: Coyotes Veteran Blue Liner

The Tampa Bay Lightning trade deadline will be interesting to watch this season. Over the last several seasons, they’ve been active with deals. It started with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. More recently, it has been Tanner Jeannot and Mikey Eyssimont. This season, there is a question of what the Lightning should do; buy or sell? Here at Last Word, Kyle Pereira and Jack Pallotta will start a series where they look at some potential trades.  Let’s say they buy, who do they get? What do they give up? Today, we look at defenceman Matt Dumba from the Arizona Coyotes.

Disclaimer: The players featured in these articles aren’t always linked to the Lightning but have been made available in some capacity this season. These pieces are observing whether Tampa should target them and what the cost would be if they did. 

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: Matt Dumba

Dumba, a former top-10 NHL draft pick in the 2012 draft, only recently parted with the team that drafted him. Over 10 seasons, Dumba played 598 games as a valued member of the Minnesota Wild. He scored 236 points (79 goals and 157 assists) while averaging 20:37 of time on ice per game. His best offensive season came in 2017-18, when he scored 50 points (14 goals and 36 assists) in 82 games, averaging a career-high 23:49 time on ice. This season, with Arizona, he has scored nine points (four goals and five assists) in 52 games. 

Over the years, Dumba has been praised as a leader and, overall, a genuine human. At the mid-way point of his career in Minnesota, Dumba was efficient in the offensive end, scoring in the 82nd percentile of defenders in offensive impact (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20). Over the last three seasons, however, his offensive impacts have declined rapidly, to being in the 4th percentile of offensive impact. This season, his offence has improved, but his defensive game has gone from bad to worse. Why would the Lightning be interested?

Dumba Scouting Report

A leader. A respectable locker room presence, who has been loved by his teammates everywhere he has gone. That may feel insignificant; we are playing hockey here. But think about Pat Maroon, who may not have been a superstar, but acted like glue in the room. On the ice, he provides some aggression with the puck as a puck mover. There are times where he will activate from the back end and jump into the rush. 

As for defending, he again plays aggressive. He gets involved in net-front battles and board battles. Additionally, he pinches in at the defensive blueline to try and force dump-ins or disrupt the flow of the rush. In-zone, he plays tight to the low slot and his side of the ice, never straying too far from his spot. 

Dumba’s Strengths

His leadership has been harped on enough, so let’s focus on the on-ice impacts. Dumba likes shooting the puck, landing second on the Coyotes amongst defenders, with 134 shot attempts. He’s got a heavy shot, and has scored a few times this season with a shot that snuck through traffic to find the back of the net. Additionally, he likes being involved in the rush, as mentioned previously. There are times where he likes jumping up as a fourth forward on the rush, on occasion even driving the net. 

As a puck mover, he’s involved and is generally more positive than negative in that area. According to AllThreeZones, he’s above average in entries per 60, controlled entry percentage, and controlled entries per 60. Essentially, he is in the upper 50% of the league’s blueliners when it comes to entering the offensive zone. Additionally, he is above average in successful exit percentage, and exits with possession percentage. 

Dumba’s Concerns

The problem, however, lies in his defensive game. Yes, he plays aggressive, and the idea seems fine. Hey, that’s the playoff hockey style, right? Well, yes, except he misses on pinches fairly often as well, leading to opposing forwards getting behind him often enough where it’s tanked his overall defensive efficiency. While on the surface, he grades out exceptionally well in controlled entry allowed percentage and carries against per 60, he is one of the worst defenders in the league in chances against per 60. 

The league knows his weakness, too. As he is one of the most targeted defencemen in the league. He may not give up entries, but players will see him step up for a pinch, and they’ll chip the puck around him, collect below the circle once they’re by him, and set up chances. Victor Hedman, as much as Bolts fans love him, gives that up enough as it is. Adding another defenceman who struggles like that, without the offensive upside to make up for those mistakes? Not exactly what the Lightning should be gunning for. 

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: What A Dumba Trade (Could) Cost

First off, the cap cost: Dumba makes $3.9 million per season, on a one year deal. The Lightning, with Mikhail Sergachev going to LTIR, have a newly found $8.5 million in cap space. That said, there won’t be a need for retention. Next, some mock trades previously set up: The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek (subscription required) had Dumba and a second for a first (to the Leafs) as a mock up. Another article, from TheLeafsNation’s Shane Seney, says the discussions should start at a third-round pick (citing the Justin Braun trade) and Connor Timmins (or a similar depth defender). So with two mock deals, the value lies somewhere between the two. That said, here’s one best-case (or cheap) deal and a worst-case (or expensive) deal. 

Trade One: Best-Case Deal

Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Dumba

Arizona Coyotes acquire 2024 third round pick and Haydn Fleury

Trade Two: Worst-Case Deal

Lightning acquire Dumba and a 2nd round pick in 2024

Coyotes acquire a 2026 1st round pick

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: In Or Out On Dumba

Dumba is an interesting name for this deadline. He’s a veteran who is so highly respected. That’s so important, because Julien BriseBois certainly values those locker room presences, with the previous acquisitions of Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Maroon, among others. Maybe BriseBois feels a respected, and new, presence could be what they need. Add to it the fact Dumba plays heavy and aggressive, often jumping up in the play which could support offence too. 

However, Dumba isn’t a better defender than any of the other regular right-shot defenders on the roster. Or, at least, not enough to warrant giving up a lot to get him. If the deal is closer to the worst case scenario, the Lightning should go nowhere near him. If it’s closer to the best-case deal, then maybe it could be considered. But it seems like an unnecessary acquisition. He isn’t quite that good. He won’t help a ton on the ice like he would have in his prime. We here at Last Word are out on the Dumba to Tampa trade ideas. 

Raw NHL stats and per game stats via Hockey-Reference

Advanced stats from MoneyPuck and AllThreeZones

Salary Cap information via CapFriendly

Main Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message