One of the biggest moves of the offseason for the Seattle Kraken has finally happened. On July 21, the Kraken officially put pen to paper with their top defender Vince Dunn and re-signed him to a four-year contract totaling $29.4 million. By doing this, the team also avoids an arbitration hearing. The agreement carries an increase in average annual value (AAV) at $7.35 million, which is certainly a well-deserved pay raise for the defenseman.
General manager Ron Francis wanted to continue the trend of locking up his main guys for the next several seasons and he did just that by getting Dunn’s deal secured. When looking at the contract as a whole, there are several things to like about it from both sides. Let’s look at how this deal positively impacts both parties involved.
Why This Deal Is Good for Dunn
There is no question that the soon-to-be 27-year-old blueliner had his best season so far of his career in 2022-23. He suited up in all but one game in the regular season and he posted career highs in goals (14), assists (50) and points (64). He was consistently one of the team’s top offensive performers on the back end and helped the Kraken’s power play go from 29th with a 14.55 percent in the 2021-22 regular season to 21st with a 19.75 percent in the 2022-23 regular season. He also helped guide the young expansion franchise to its first playoff appearance. Dunn and the Kraken took even bigger steps once the Stanley Cup Playoffs began.
In the first-round series vs. the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, while only potting one goal and one point in the seven-game series, the Mississauga, Ontario, native was a steady force on the back end. His defensive ability helped Seattle at times slow down the high-powered Avalanche offense enough to pull off the upset series win. In the second-round series vs. the Dallas Stars, he stepped up his offensive game as he added six assists in seven games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Kraken were eliminated by Dallas ending their season one win short of a Western Conference Final appearance.
Related: Seattle Kraken Re-Sign Vince Dunn to Four-Year Contract
Dunn’s season was phenomenal when it was all said and done. He finished top 10 in goals, assists, points and 5-on-5 play for defensemen in the NHL. He elevated his game to new heights and the length of his new contract is good for him for two reasons. The first is that he gets the raise in salary from the previous $4 million AAV he had been making the past two seasons. It’s a raise he certainly deserves. The other reason is that since it’s only a four-year deal, he will have the opportunity to jump back into the free-agency market after the 2026-27 season. By that time, he will only be 30 years old, and if he continues to have major success, he will get the chance to cash in on an even bigger deal.
Why This Deal Is Good for Seattle
When the Kraken selected Dunn with their St. Louis Blues pick in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, they had envisioned that he could be an anchor to the defensive corps. It is safe to say that Dunn had become just that after two seasons in the Emerald City. As a young franchise, Francis knew that he had to not only establish the core of his team but also keep guys who could help his team take the next steps toward a Stanley Cup. Earlier this offseason, he began that process by re-signing both Will Borgen and Cale Fleury in two days earlier this month.
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Fast forward to July 21 and the third-year general manager locked down one of his most important pieces. Not only was he able to get Dunn to sign a deal and avoid arbitration, but he also signed him to a reasonable deal in terms of cap hit. While the defenseman will be making more than any player on the team in terms of AAV, it will still allow Francis to have plenty of cap space over the next several seasons to not only get other core guys, such as Matty Beniers, Alexander Wennberg and Eeli Tolvanen, signed but continue to build around them with other pieces.
Francis wants to continue to have a healthy cap in order to make these types of moves and getting this deal “Dunn” is tremendous. It helps his team continue to build towards bringing a Stanley Cup to the Pacific Northwest.