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New Bolts on the Block: Trade Deadline Brings Close Friends Together Again

Courtesy of Kim Klement Nietzel- USA Today Sports

The National Hockey League’s spring trade deadline was about three weeks ago, and the Tampa Bay Lightning were pretty busy. During the trading scramble, the Lightning acquired Anthony Duclair from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Jack Thompson and a third round draft pick in the 2024 NHL draft. Additionally, the Lightning also acquired Matt Dumba from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2027 fifth round draft pick. So far, Duclair has added depth to the Lightning’s defense and Dumba has added life and energy to the injury depleted blue line.

Courtesy of Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Duclair has had a long journey of bouncing around the NHL. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2013. Then he eventually went to the Arizona Coyotes, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Ottawa Senators, the Florida Panthers, and the San Jose Sharks. Duclair made a huge mark on the Florida Panthers’ lineup while he was playing there. He scored 30 goals in his first season with the Panthers. Though he had achilles tendon surgery at the beginning of his second season with the Panthers, he bounced back to help get the Cats to the Stanley Cup Final in 2023. Duclair has a lot of speed, good offensive instincts, and a decent shot.

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/ NHLI via Getty Images

On the other hand, Matt Dumba has not moved around the NHL as much. He was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2012, where he spent his first twelve seasons. At the beginning of this season, Dumba was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. During his time with the Wild, Dumba had a definite impact on their roster. For the 2018-2019 season, Dumba was the leading defenseman in the league before his season ended due to a pectoral tear. In 2020, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is an award in the NHL for best leadership qualities on and off the ice and for players who have made humanitarian contributions in their communities. During his last season in Minnesota, he was third overall on the team for most on-ice time and was one of the two Wild players with 100 blocked shots. He is known in the league for his hard but clean hits on opponents, as well as his clean puck-handling, and his love for taking risks.

Courtesy of NHLI via Getty Images

During their first few weeks with the Lightning, Duclair and Dumba have had an immediate impact. With the Lightning’s 7-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on March 9th, which was their first game with the Lightning, both players meshed with the team nicely. Duclair had one goal and one assist, and Dumba dished out some of his famous hits, blocked a shot, and got into a scrap. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper voiced his excitement on both players. “He can really add dimension to our top six (forwards) and I think he did that tonight. He’s a blessed skater and he showed his hands, especially on his goal,” Cooper said about Duclair. On Dumba, Cooper stated “Matt brings instant energy to our group. He did a lot of things that we need back (on the blue line). He competes real hard.”

Courtesy of Kim Klement Nietzel- USA Today Sports

Besides being incredible hockey players, both Duclair and Dumba are really good friends. Back during the height of the pandemic in 2020, both players practiced together, strengthening their game and their bond. About getting the opportunity to play together, Dumba said “I am pumped… we have talked about it for years. We had some good summers and have been boys for a long time now. For this to happen is unreal.” Both players cannot wait to call Tampa home and play alongside each other, which is something that they have always wanted to do.

Courtesy of NHL on Facebook

In their short time with the Lightning, close friends Anthony Duclair and Matt Dumba have already made their mark as key players on the roster. As the Lightning push for the playoffs, it will be exciting to see them play in substantial roles and to see their friendship continue to grow.

Edited by Giana Robertaccio

Social Media Content Created by Caroline McGuinness

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