What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Portland Winterhawks have Matt Dumba’s rights, should Minnesota Wild return him to junior

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo


Matt Dumba has not dressed for the Wild since Nov. 23 (The Associated Press)

It's beginning to look a lot like a return to junior for Matt Dumba. Already set to be loaned to Team Canada for the world junior championship by the Minnesota Wild, the 19-year-old defenceman's potential safety net in the Western Hockey League has been switched.

The Portland Winterhawks have committed one player, young forward Preston Kopeck, plus conditional picks to get the WHL rights to Dumba. (So that was the "big news coming out of Portland".)

Rebels coach-GM Brent Sutter said Tuesday he had a Dec. 1 deadline "on for myself and this team that if Mathew wasn’t returned [from Minnesota] to our organization that I seriously had to look at another avenue to be able to acquire some assets and perhaps a quality player.” Kopeck, who is in his 18-year-old season, is out until January due to hernia surgery. He has four goals and 10 points over 24 games.

There is no guarantee Dumba will play for Portland. Two seasons ago, when the Tampa Bay Lightning lent Brent Connolly to Team Canada, Prince George traded the wing's WHL rights to the Tri-City Americans, which went for naught. Connolly, however, was playing much more as a 19-year-old than Dumba has for Minnesota.

The defenceman has been a scratch in Minnesota since Nov. 23, which can't be good for his development. Based on the NHL barring the Buffalo Sabres from sending Mikhail Grigorenko to the AHL for a conditioning stint, one could presume that is a non-starter for the Wild. So there's the reading of the tea leaves.

Dumba going to Portland, where the Winterhawks have access to the NHL-calibre Moda Center, might also allay any concern the Wild have about sending Dumba back to a junior puck precinct. That is another consideration; parenthetically, one could apply that to the Toronto Maple Leafs' decision regarding former Moose Jaw Warriors star Morgan Rielly, whose full-season status in the NHL still isn't assured.

The Winterhawks are leading the U.S. Division, once again and have scored 40 more goals than the next most profilic team in the WHL, Swift Current. In the wake of seeing off Seth Jones and Tyler Wotherspoon to the pro game, their team goals-against average has swelled in the 3.00-plus range. That is not Memorial Cup calibre.

Red Deer is puttering along in ninth place in the Dub's Eastern Conference with a .484 point percentage. Seventeen-year-olds Connor Bleackley, already the captain, and defenceman Haydn Fleury are two good building blocks for coach-GM Brent Sutter. This move, even though it involves someone not on the active roster, might signal that Sutter is cashing out for this season.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (1)
  • Braun, Peralta lead Brewers past Reds

    Braun, Peralta lead Brewers past Reds

    After a poor start in his last game, Wily Peralta insisted he'd rebound in his next outing. The Brewers starter did just that, pitching seven strong innings as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. Peralta … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • 2006 champion, No. 3-seeded Maria Sharapova pulls out of US Open for 2nd time in 3 years

    2006 champion, No. 3-seeded Maria Sharapova pulls out of US Open for 2nd time in 3 years

    Maria Sharapova pulled out of the U.S. Open for the second time in three years Sunday, withdrawing on the eve of the tournament because of a lingering right leg injury. The U.S. Tennis Association announced the withdrawal via a press release at … More »

    The Canadian Press - 6 minutes ago
  • Loudest grunters in women's tennis

    Loudest grunters in women's tennis

    Grunting in women’s tennis has come under scrutiny in the past with the likes of Caroline Wozniacki and legend Martina Navratilova calling it cheating. One study, however, shows that it can have a positive effect on play. … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 7 minutes ago
  • Tough tests from the start for Federer, Murray

    Tough tests from the start for Federer, Murray

    Second seed Federer, who beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati final and is striving to add to his record 17 grand slam singles titles, plays 34th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. Third seeded Murray, who defeated Djokovic in … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Holland Ks 11 for Texas in 6-0 win over O's for 3-game sweep

    Holland Ks 11 for Texas in 6-0 win over O's for 3-game sweep

    Derek Holland struck out every Baltimore batter while throwing a three-hitter for his eighth career shutout, leading the Texas Rangers over the Orioles 6-0 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep. The left-hander struck out each of the Orioles' nine … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 15 seconds ago