Wild first-rounder Dumba cracks opening night roster


After an impressive training camp, Matt Dumba is sticking with the Wild.

That’s the story out of Minnesota on Friday, as the Pioneer Press reports the 18-year-old defenseman — taken seventh overall at the 2012 Entry Draft — will open the year in the NHL and could make his debut on Saturday when the Wild host the Colorado Avalanche.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Dumba said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be here right now.”

The Wild will have five games to decide if Dumba will play out the year in the NHL, or be returned to his junior club in WHL Red Deer. The window for junior-eligible players is usually nine games, but has been reduced this year on account of the shortened schedule.

With defenseman Tom Gilbert nursing a groin injury, Dumba could play on Saturday, though it’s more likely he’ll stick around as the spare until the club’s other injured defensemen — Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin — are ready to return.

As it stands, Minnesota’s projected defensive pairings for Saturday look like this:

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Clayton Stoner-Tom Gilbert
Justin Falk-Nate Prosser

That said, Wild head coach Mike Yeo said nothing’s set in stone and that Dumba’s earned the right to open the year in the NHL.

“He’s earned it,” Yeo said. “He’s been really good up to this point. There’s no guarantees for anything except the next couple days.

“We definitely want to have a chance to, No. 1, reward him, and No. 2, watch him play a little bit more.”

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.