|THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand|
Born: January 19, 1990 (age 20)
6 ft 2 in
The Wild picked Cuma 23rd overall in the first round of the 2008 entry draft. He had an amazing training camp that season in Minnesota and even the most cynical Wild fans were absolutely swooning at his poise and maturity for a skinny 18 year old kid.
Statements like, "He was the best defenseman on the ice" weren't uncommon, and on top of that, he was a good talker to the media. Very mature, very focused. Bring that one home to mama.
But then the wheels fell off: He suffered a serious knee injury that December and missed most of the rest of the season. He came back last season, but seemingly didn't return to the previous year's dominance, coming up 10 points shy of his 2007-08 stats. Plus, he missed the World Junior championships both years (first for injury, then didn't make the final team cut in 2010). Wild fans seemed to collectively say, "Uh oh. What happened to Cuma?"
Nothing is wrong with Cuma. And from what I hear, even as a rookie, the Aeros would be lucky to have him on the roster. I would not expect him to put up much in the way of numbers for a while as he focuses on the defensive end of his craft at the pro level. But I anticipate a kid who is big and steady and smart with the puck pretty much right out of the gate.
Here's an interview that I'd say is Essential Reading if you want to know where Cuma's head is at (short answer: Squarely on his shoulders) as he heads into the season.
And any d-man who will defend a nasty run on his goalie is a d-man I can like: