Defenseman reveals the strange reason why he chose not to sign with the Leafs this season

Dean Chaudhry
March 1, 2024  (9:37)

Matt Dumba of the Arizona Coyotes
Photo credit: TSN

Over the summer, one of the more intriguing options for any team looking to acquire an impactful defenseman on a one-year deal was Matt Dumba. The former Minnesota Wild defender had struggled in the final years of his previous contract but remained one of the bigger names available, which is why it should come as no surprise that the Toronto Maple Leafs expressed interest in his services.

Ahead of their tilt on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena, Dumba revealed that the Maple Leafs were one of several teams that were interested, but he ended up choosing the Arizona Coyotes for a few reasons, one of which being that he owned an investment home in Arizona. Interesting decision to say the least as he chose to play for a rebuilding club who may end up being relocated instead of a playoff contender.
After a 50-point outburst in 2017-18, Dumba never regained that same offensive output as he scored 35 goals and 108 points in his final 288 games in Minnesota that spanned 5 seasons. He dealt with a myriad of injuries but was still a decent option defensively as he blocked 406 shots and finished 450 hits in that same stretch.
Currently, for the Coyotes, Dumba has just 4 goals and 9 points in 54 games, is a minus-14, has 55 PIMs, 139 hits, 82 blocked shots, and is averaging 20:04 TOI. He is going to be an interesting trade deadline target for any teams that have missed out on Chris Tanev, or who may miss out on Sean Walker and Noah Hanifin.
Dumba originally signed a 1-year, $3.9M pact with the Coyotes, so salary retention is most definitely on the table in any Dumba deal. The Maple Leafs have been making calls for about every able-bodied defenseman that is believed to be available ahead of the deadline, so don't be surprised if they come circling back to Dumba, who could be an underrated addition to a back end if he can rediscover some of his offensive flair.
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Defenseman reveals the strange reason why he chose not to sign with the Leafs this season

With Tanev off the board, who should the Leafs prioritize?

Sean Walker21325.9 %
Noah Hanifin23528.6 %
Matt Dumba37345.4 %
David Savard00 %
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