Tuesday, December 10, 2013

REBELS: Dumba Dealt To Portland

Trade breakdown (as per whl.ca)

The Red Deer Rebels have officially parted ways with Mathew Dumba.

Today, the Rebels traded Dumba’s WHL playing rights, along with a conditional 2014 WHL Bantam Draft pick, to the Portland Winterhawks. In return, the Rebels get 18-year-old forward Presten Kopeck and conditional bantam draft picks.

While it has become quite clear that the Minnesota Wild have no interest in sending Dumba back to play for an on-the-fringe playoff contender (if they ever had any to begin with), the chance to send him out west to play for a league championship and Memorial Cup contender may be a much more enticing possibility. It is clearly a possibility that both Rebels GM / Head Coach Brent Sutter and Winterhawks GM / Head Coach Mike Johnston are banking on.

As of right now, the deal has no negative impact for the Rebels simply because Dumba is not playing here. It certainly looks like this deal guarantees that there will be a positive impact at some point.

In the meantime, it was time for the Rebels to move on.

“I gave it to December 1st,” Sutter tells Cam Moon in an interview that will air during tonight’s Rebels/Hurricanes broadcast on 106.7 The Drive. “I had a 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.”

When it comes to the player Red Deer is getting in return, Kopeck is currently recovering from hernia surgery and is expected to be game ready early in the new year. He has 29 points in 88 career games played with the Winterhawks.

“He’s a character kid,” says Sutter. “I guess you might say you could put Brooks Maxwell and Wyatt Johnson into one player. He brings a little bit of what both of those guys have. We just feel that he can really contribute and be certainly a top nine forward and, in time, be a top six forward and, maybe a year from now, a top three forward for us.”

For Red Deer, they get ‘something out of nothing’ for their franchise defenceman. For Portland, they get an elite calibre WHL defenceman to step right in and replace Seth Jones, who now patrols the blue line for the Nashville Predators after they selected him 4th overall at last June’s NHL Entry Draft.

Meantime, for Dumba, should he actually suit up for the Winterhawks it would be a chance to play for a team we all assume will be right in the mix for the Ed Cheynoweth Cup again this spring.

On a personal note, now that Dumba once and for all is a former Rebel, I’ll miss him around here. He is the one player I have had the pleasure of getting know since the day he was selected by the Rebels in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft (1st round, 4th overall). It would only be a matter of weeks before Rebels fans would get a taste of how good Dumba would eventually become when he led Team Alberta to gold at the inaugural Western Canada U16 Hockey Challenge in Blackfalds.

Each and every time we have chatted in the four years since then, he has been great to deal with and has handled himself with the utmost of class. On top of that, his parents Charlie and Trina have been an absolute delight to get to know and younger brother Kyle will be making a push to be starting in net for the Calgary Hitmen someday.

Whether he was playing at his absolute best or, as we saw from time to time, his not-so-best, watching Dumba was never boring. I can’t see that being any different moving forward and I truly do wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career. I also look forward to seeing Mathew finally get his chance to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors later this month after being cut from the team each of the last two years. Whatever success Team Canada experiences at the event, you can be sure Dumba will play a large role in it.

[You can hear Mooner’s full interview with Brent during tonight’s game broadcast on The Drive. Game time is 7pm with the pregame show starting at 6:50pm. If you miss it, chances are we’ll post the full audio online tomorrow morning.]


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