Meet the Seattle Kraken: Defenseman Vince Dunn

In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive on each player. This installment of the series focuses on defenseman Vince Dunn, who the Kraken selected from the St. Louis Blues.

Vince Dunn

Age: 24
Position: Defense
2020-21 Team: St. Louis Blues
2020-21 Season: Despite seeing a career-high 19:15 average time on ice, Dunn struggled to match the production he saw the previous year, or during the Blues’ Cup run. To be fair, the Blues struggled as a whole and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. He scored six goals and 20 points in 43 games and was a minus-8. Two goals and seven points came on the power play, but he saw very little penalty killing time throughout the season. 
Type of Acquisition: Dunn was selected by the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft. 

Dunn’s Pre-Kraken Career

Dunn was drafted in the 2015 draft’s second round following his second season playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Niagara Ice Dogs. He picked a good year for his breakout season, scoring 18 goals and 56 points in 68 games, including six goals and 10 points in eight playoff games, during his draft year. 

He would finish his OHL career with 35 goals and 132 points in 183 games. He performed well in the postseason with 11 goals and 23 points in 27 playoff games.

Dunn stepped into the American Hockey League (AHL) for the 2016-17 season, and his offensive prowess shined. As a 19-year-old, he scored 13 goals and 45 points in 72 games, which was good for leading all Chicago Wolves defenseman, and placed him at fourth overall on the team. He played two more games in the AHL during the 2017-18 season before finding a permanent home with the St. Louis Blues defensive corps. 

Vince Dunn St. Louis Blues
Vince Dunn, former St. Louis Blues defenseman (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His rookie year wasn’t anything spectacular. He scored 24 points in 75 games and the Blues missed the playoffs. However, the following season gave an indication of what he could be if he reaches his ceiling. Dunn scored 12 goals, 23 assists and 35 points in 78 games, all of which are career-highs to date. He added two goals and eight points en route to the Blues’ first Stanley Cup title. 

During each of the past two seasons, he established a new career-low in point production. First dropping to 23 points, then 20. However, this past season he faced some injuries, and it was a shortened season. He was on pace for around 38 points, which would have been a career-high.

Dunn’s Kraken Expectations

Dunn is just 24 years old, and has a lot of time left to find and reestablish his game. He should find himself slotting into the Kraken’s top-four, and on the power play. Some of the other potential top-four defensemen will help give him freedom to play his offensive style. 

A player like Mark Giordano, despite getting older, has had consistent offensive success throughout most of his career, while being responsible defensively. If paired with someone such as Jamie Oleksiak, he will have more freedom to take offensive risks. Oleksiak plays a more defensive game and can have his back in case of a mistake. 

Dunn needs to have a strong offensive year. His 2020-21 season struggles led to some trade interest, the optimal return being a first round pick, and could be part of the reason he wasn’t protected by the Blues. 

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A successful season would look like double-digit goals and a minimum of 30 points. He needs to find the form of his Cup year, and score to at least 10 goals and 40 points. Being that the Kraken are not as offensively inclined on the backend, a lot of that weight and opportunity will fall onto his shoulders. If he can stay injury-free, this could be a huge year for him.

Was Selecting Dunn a Hit or a Miss?

Kraken general manager Ron Francis took a bit of a gamble in selecting Dunn. The Kraken are pretty thin up front, and may have found use selecting Mike Hoffman from the Blues. Francis went with Dunn, who may just need a change of scenery and increased opportunity to really take off. He has shown glimpses of his offensive ceiling, he just needs to find the consistency in order to become a valuable asset for the Kraken; whether on the ice, or eventually, in the market.

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This is a tentative hit for the Kraken. Dunn is signed for two years, with a $4 million cap hit. If it doesn’t work out, they can look to move him. If it does, then they can try and lock him up for the long haul. If the Kraken want to compete for The Cup down the line, they’ll need puck-movers on the blue line. Dunn has the potential, and should get the opportunity, to be their guy.

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