Matt Dumba is one of the top pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) defensemen set to hit the open market. As a result, he should garner plenty of interest this offseason. The Minnesota Wild have limited cap space due to the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise buyout penalties, so it appears more likely than not that Dumba will be playing elsewhere in 2023-24. Therefore, let’s discuss three potential free-agent destinations for the 28-year-old.
The Colorado Avalanche could be on the hunt for another right-shot defenseman this offseason. Erik Johnson is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA), and that will create $6 million of potential cap space for Colorado. That is more than enough money to use on a player like Dumba, and this is a move that could make sense for both the player and the organization.
If the Avalanche were to sign Dumba, he would be an excellent fit on their second pairing with either Samuel Girard or Bowen Byram. With that, he would provide Colorado with another defenseman who can be utilized on both special-team units. With the Avalanche losing in the first round this season, it would make sense for them to look to strengthen their defensive group.
The Ottawa Senators are trending in the right direction, and they are expected to have a very busy offseason because of it. General manager (GM) Pierre Dorion confirmed that the team’s “rebuild is done” as well, so we should expect them to be aggressive in free agency this year. Even after adding Jakob Chychrun at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, it is apparent that the Senators still need to bolster their defensive group. This is especially the case with their right side, so perhaps Dumba would make sense for them as a free-agent target.
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As we inched closer to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, NHL insider Darren Dreger reported that the Senators expressed interest in Dumba as well. Although a move did not come to fruition, this is an avenue that Dorion could explore again. If the Senators were to sign Dumba, he would be an immediate fit on their second pairing with either Thomas Chabot or Chychrun. In either scenario, Ottawa’s defensive group would improve greatly.
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Although the Senators’ primary focus should be on finding a starting netminder, it is clear that they also need a top-four, right-shot defenseman as well. Thus, with this and their confirmed past interest in Dumba, we should expect them to be in the mix for his services this summer.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings made a shocking trade at the deadline when they moved Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks. Although the return they received was excellent, it is a move that has since created a major hole on the right side of Detroit’s defensive group. With Dumba being a top-four, right-shot defenseman, he could be an excellent addition to a Red Wings team looking to be more competitive in 2023-24.
The Red Wings will have money to work with this offseason, so a Dumba signing is certainly possible. GM Steve Yzerman should consider making a push for the 2012 first-round pick, as he would have the potential to form a solid second pairing with one of Olli Maatta and Ben Chiarot. With that, he would give the Red Wings another defenseman who can play on their power play as well.
Nevertheless, with this year’s free agency class being weak, Dumba should be a hot commodity once he hits the market. On paper, the Senators, Red Wings, and Avalanche stand out as three prime potential landing spots, but we should not be surprised if several other clubs also look to bring in the Saskatchewan native. We will need to wait and see where he ends up landing from here.