SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Defenseman Matt Dumba on Monday signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Arizona Coyotes, joining a rebuilding team on a deal that could lead to greater riches down the line.
Dumba played 10 seasons with Minnesota after the Wild selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. He served as an alternate captain for the Wild the past two seasons, playing more of a shutdown role after being one of the league's better two-way defensemen.
The 29-year-old had a 50-point season while playing all 82 games in 2017-18 and has scored 20 points at least seven times. The Saskatchewan native had four goals and 14 assists in 79 games last season.
"He is a talented, reliable, physical defenseman who competes hard every night and will contribute offensively," Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said in a statement announcing the move. "He is also a great leader who will add a veteran presence to our blue line. We are very excited to have him on our team this season."
Dumba's five-year contract with the Wild expired in June, a pricey deal for a defensive defenseman that carried an average annual value of $6 million.
Because of Minnesota's extended salary cap issues -- the Wild elected to buy out veterans such as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in 2021 to create room -- Dumba's name often appeared in trade rumors. A steady, stay-at-home defenseman with the ability to pitch in offensively here and there, Dumba appeared to have drawn interest through the years, but his contract likely got in the way of any potential deals.
And the one-year term in Arizona means Dumba can play on a "prove it" deal and hit the market all over again next July.
In the interim, Dumba should give the Coyotes a huge boost on the blue line and provide veteran leadership on a young team. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2019-20, an award given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
Dumba will likely fill a top-four spot on a Coyotes blue line that will also include Sean Durzi, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in an offseason trade for a 2024 second-round draft. Arizona also added Alex Kerfoot, Nick Bjugstad and former Wild player Jason Zucker as the franchise rounds into the third year of a rebuilding project.
The veteran was an anchor on Minnesota's back line across several generations of the Wild's build toward contention. Dumba often shifted from the first and second line of defenders for the Wild, and while his offense has dipped over time, he once was among the club's more consistent scorers on the back line. In a span of seasons from 2015-16 through 2018-19, Dumba topped 10 goals in every year.
Over time, he has faded from the scoresheet, but his minute totals have been steady, and he will offer the Coyotes a reliable force on the blue line who is probably best fit for even-strength and short-handed situations. His new contract is Dumba's fourth in the NHL, and he'll enter next season with $40 million in career earnings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.