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 reasonable projection for Dumba I wanted to look at his shot, point, and peripheral rates, while regressing his on-ice shooting percentages towards longer-term averages. What I want to know is starting this game and moving forward, what should we be expecting from the former multi-cat stud? 

I’m not including penalty kill in these numbers, but I will bake them into the total on the bottom row.

Game state

GP

ATOI

G

A

Pts

SOG

PIMs

Hits

Blocks

ES

82

18:50

12

15

27

142

34

104

86

PP

82

3:00

4

10

14

42

16

17

3

Total

82

23:38

16

26

42

186

52

127

109

Advice

Based on longer-term averages, Dumba is getting seriously hosed on his assist rate this year. That explains the tremendously low IPP numbers he’s getting. However, last year’s near-13 percent shooting rate was also unsustainable. It’s highly unlikely Dumba could have kept that up all last year, and consequently he likely wouldn’t have come close to surpassing Mike Green’s 30+ goal performance.

Dumba’s average draft position in Yahoo this year was 88th, and he was getting drafted around players like Rasmus Dahlin, Shea Weber, and Dougie Hamilton. Now, he’d probably be drafted as a number five defenseman / bench option. However, there is plenty of space on fantasy rosters for a 40+ point defenseman who can provide category coverage like Dumba. Players like Aaron Ekblad, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Dumba’s teammate Jared Spurgeon have made fantasy careers out of providing that type of floor.

Considering Dumba is under-performing his expected pace by about 20 points, it might sound like I’m advising to buy Dumba, but I don’t think I’d be looking to give up an asset for him. If he’s floating on the waiver wire and I could use a peripheral d-man with point upside? I’ll take that flyer. 

If you have a question about a transaction concerning Dumba, feel free to send me a message @burnett_hockey or check out my podcast work @avgtimeonice.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency PIT Players
21.5% SIDNEY CROSBY CONOR SHEARY JASON ZUCKER
20.5% EVGENI MALKIN PATRICK MARLEAU BRYAN RUST
18.5% TEDDY BLUEGER SAM LAFFERTY BRANDON TANEV

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