Geek of the Week: Don’t Be a Dumba

Ben Burnett

2019-12-15


It’s now been a decade since Mike Green scored 31 goals in a season, and no defenseman other than Brent Burns (29 in 2016-17, 27 in 2015-16) has come close since. A total of 32 games into 2018-19, Matt Dumba was pacing for 32 goals. His attempt to clear the 30-goal mark was unfortunately disrupted by a ruptured pectoralis in mid-December 2018. This past draft season, Dumba looked like a strong depth-option with a great floor. Unfortunately, that’s not how it has worked out so far.

Dumba is now 33 games into his 2019-20 campaign, meaning he’s played one more game than he did last season. So far, Dumba is pacing for 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points. His per-game shot, hit, power-play points, and block rates are all down despite playing almost the exact same minutes per game this year. In fact, the only fantasy relevant statistical category in which Dumba has seen progression is penalty minutes. At this point it doesn’t seem likely a 50-point pace is going to come walking through the door. My question is, will Dumba rebound into being a statistically relevant fantasy player? And if so, what pace can we reasonably expect him to hit? 

Season So Far

The first thing we want to look at with Dumba is whether his current pace is sustainable, or if he’s grossly under-performing. My guess is he should be at least a 40-point player that has been getting the crummy end of some on-ice percentages. 

Dumba’s even-strength IPP is 22 percent, and that’s certainly lower than I’d expect moving forward. For a defenseman who activates and is able to join the offense, you’d think he’d post an IPP in the 35-40 percent range. On the power play, Dumba’s IPP is below 40 percent, while we’d expect PP1 d-men to hit around a 60 percent mark.

On the power play, he’s also scored zero goals on 16 shots, after scoring six on 32 shots last year. That number (zero) had obviously ought to regress positively. His on-ice shooting percentage is also low on the power play, though I’m not convinced the Wild’s power play is going to finish at a high rate.

The strangest thing about Dumba’s fall-off this season is his deployment hasn’t really changed. He’s playing marginally more minutes both on the power-play and overall this year. The Wild also seemingly haven’t changed too much from a personnel perspective, but perhaps losing their second-leading scorer of the past three years in Mikael Granlund had an outsized effect on Dumba’s scoring. You have to also think the aging core would be an issue. The Wild’s three highest-deployed forwards (Eric Staal, Zach Parise, and Mikko Koivu) are all 35+, as is the team’s TOI leader Ryan Suter. But overall, we can definitely expect Dumba to pick it up above his current 22-point pace. 

What to Expect

To establish a reason