The Portland Winterhawks roster received a significant boost on Tuesday when the Minnesota Wild assigned defenseman Mathew Dumba to Portland.
The Winterhawks acquired the Western Hockey League rights to the 19-year-old in a December trade with Red Deer.
Dumba was the No. 7 pick in last June’s NHL Draft. He played in 13 National Hockey League games for the Wild this season, scoring a goal and an assist. He was an assistant captain for Canada at the World Juniors Championship tournament that concluded on Sunday, though he lost some weight as a result of an illness during that tournament.
Winterhawks Nic Petan, Derrick Pouliot and Taylor Leier also played for Team Canada, which finished fourth in the tournament.
Dumba returned to Minnesota so that Wild team doctors could check on him before he heads to Portland. He is expected to join the Winterhawks sometime during their four-game road swing that begins Wednesday at Everett.
Winterhawks general manager and head coach Mike Johnston said there was no guarantee Dumba would come to Portland when the trade was made with Red Deer.
Johnston said he made the trade in December knowing that Dumba’s value would go up if he was returned to the league.
“He’s a very good player,” Johnston said, describing the 6-foot, 182-pound Dumba as “very mobile, he can generate offense.”
Dumba’s experience in the WHL — he played in 199 games over four WHL seasons for Red Deer — plus the NHL and the World Juniors is a big part of the reason the Winterhawks made the trade. Portland sent forward Presten Kopeck to Red Deer in the deal.
The Western Hockey League trade deadline is Friday. Johnston said the Winterhawks will keep an eye on what other teams or doing and will listen, but that the trade for Dumba was the move made to strengthen the team for the stretch run and the playoffs.