Matt Dumba hasn't been with the Wild since his contract expired earlier this summer, but the defenseman is now finally on a new team.
After a month-plus as a free agent, Dumba agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes, a source confirmed Sunday.
The deal is worth $3.9 million.
One of the longest-tenured players on the Wild before his departure, Dumba leaving felt inevitable even before the offseason started.
His five-year, $30 million contract was ending right when the Wild were beginning the most expensive years of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts. That nearly $15 million cost left the team with little flexibility this summer, and their roster turnover has reinforced this.
Dumba was one of six Wild free agents to go elsewhere, and the team has re-signed only goaltender Filip Gustavsson and winger Brandon Duhaime while also trading for experienced forward Pat Maroon and bringing in Vinni Lettieri and Jake Lucchini on two-way deals. With rookies Brock Faber and Marco Rossi factored onto the team, the Wild have approximately $1.6 million remaining in cap space, which underscores the math that made a return for Dumba seem impossible. The team also has defenseman Calen Addison unsigned.
Still, as unsurprising as Dumba's exit is, that doesn't diminish the significance of his absence from the Wild blue line.
The seventh overall pick in 2012, Dumba went on to play 10 seasons for the franchise, his 598 games the sixth-most in team history.
He finished with 79 goals and 157 assists for 236 points to rank top-five in each category among franchise defensemen. The 29-year-old is first all-time in hits by a Wild defenseman (816) and tied with Kirill Kaprizov for the most overtime goals with six, his offensive instincts a trademark of his game that clicked with the stingy style of his longtime defensive partner and friend Jonas Brodin.
Dumba was at his best in 2017-18 when he reached 14 goals and 50 points, both career highs, and he was on pace to eclipse that production the following season before a torn pectoral muscle sidelined him for months and interrupted his momentum.
Last season, Dumba totaled four goals and 10 assists through 79 games and was a healthy scratch twice in January, but he rebounded to become one of the team's sharpest defenders.
His impact, however, wasn't limited to the ice.
Not only was Dumba active locally, hosting a youth camp to bring more diversity to the game, he also had a league-wide profile with the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which was created to eradicate racism from the sport.
In 2020, Dumba, who is Filipino-Canadian, gave a nationally televised speech on racial injustice and was recognized with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his humanitarian work. He was also a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2021, which honors perseverance and dedication to hockey, and Dumba, a Wild alternate captain the past two seasons, was the team's inaugural Tom Kurvers Humanitarian Award winner earlier this year.
Asked after the season what he was most proud of over the last decade, Dumba said it was probably his involvement in the community. He also acknowledged that Minnesota will always be home to him.
"I'll always be tied to Minnesota and wanting to make things better here for the kids coming up in hockey," Dumba said at the time.
This move to the Coyotes keeps Dumba in the Central Division, and he'll be alongside a few former Wild teammates.
Jason Zucker and Nick Bjugstad signed with Arizona in July; the rebuilding Coyotes also received a boost when Logan Cooley decided to turn pro and leave the Gophers.
Arizona and the Wild are scheduled to face off four times next season, with the Coyotes' first visit to Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 13.
"Pretty crazy to look back at it and see 10, 11 years just go by in the blink of an eye," Dumba said in May. "I love Minny. So many friends here, put down some roots, a house here. It means a lot to me and just how I've been able to be in the community and try to use my platform for good and make a difference, it's been just as fulfilling if not more for me going through all this and the connections I've made."