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REPORT: Sharks ‘Had Interest’ in Dumba

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks know that they need to add some offense to their defense.

That much is clear, after Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports reported that the Sharks “had interest”, along with the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks, in free agent defenseman Matt Dumba.

Dumba, 29, signed with the Arizona Coyotes for one-year, $3.9 million last Sunday.

The pursuit of Dumba makes sense for the San Jose Sharks.

After trading Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sharks have a clear offensive void on the blueline. Last year, Karlsson scored 101 points. The Sharks’ current eight veteran blueliners, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Mario Ferraro, Jan Rutta, Radim Simek, Matt Benning, Nikolai Knyzhov, Kyle Burroughs, and Jacob MacDonald combined for 77.

Dumba had a down offensive campaign last season, with just 14 points in 79 appearances, but before that, he averaged 0.49 Points Per Game from 2016 to 2022 for the Minnesota Wild.

Before last year, he was a power play staple for the Wild.

So it makes sense that the San Jose Sharks were hoping for an offensive bounceback from Dumba in teal.

The problem now for San Jose?

There aren’t a lot of UFA defenseman options left out there with recent power play experience.

A source told San Jose Hockey Now that the Sharks had interest in offense-first Erik Gustafsson at the beginning of free agency, if they could conclude a Karlsson trade quickly.

But Gustafsson couldn’t wait, and instead, opted to sign a one-year contract with the New York Islanders.

And now, they missed on Dumba.

Ethan Bear has some recent experience running a PP, but he’s out until December because of shoulder surgery. 37-year-old Alex Edler may retire, and it’s been four years since he was a power play regular. Other UFA defensemen include Simon Benoit, Nick Holden, and Scott Harrington, but they’re not likely options for the man advantage.

In other words, it’s slim pickings!

The trade market looks about the same.

“It’s going to be internal. We’ll give these guys opportunity at training camp and exhibition games, take a little bit more responsibility and try and chip in a little bit more offensively,” Grier said of his defensive corps.

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MacDonald and Leon Gawanke have scored 20 goals, but in the AHL. Matt Benning followed Karlsson on the second power play unit without much to show for it last season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Mario Ferraro, and Jan Rutta have some NHL experience on the man advantage too.

“But at the same time, these guys are in the league for a reason, and they’re on our team for a reason. For most of them, it’s not to be an offensive player,” the GM acknowledged. “Sometimes, players can fall into that trap where they try and do too much and they change their game, and it becomes something that is not beneficial to them or the team.”

You can argue, for example, that’s happened with Ferraro in recent years.

So there’s no easy solution for the Sharks here. Grier knows it too.

“We’ll still be on the lookout for trying to maybe add something, whether that’s this year or in the future,” he shared, “someone that can probably bring a little bit more offense to the backend.”

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