Kraken’s Dunn Has Room to Grow Before Becoming No. 1 Defender

Vince Dunn has had a good season, but the Seattle Kraken need more from him if they want to be successful the rest of the season. He does lead all defensemen on the team in points and assists, but there are some areas where improvement is needed. Here are some areas that need to improve if he is to become the number one defenseman the Kraken hope he is.

Dunn’s Offensive Numbers A Little Deceptive

On the surface, it looks as though Dunn is having a good season. He has four goals which are tied for the offensive lead amongst defensemen on the Kraken, and as mentioned, he leads in both assists and points. However, when diving below the surface, some trends are concerning.

One statistic that sticks out is that Dunn only has three primary assists. This means that 73% of his assists this season have come from him passing the puck to a teammate who then makes a play to get it to the eventual goal scorer. Only two defensemen in the top 50 point-getters this season have a secondary assist higher than 70%, with those two being Charlie McAvoy and Shayne Gostisbehere. Suppose he is to become that top-end offensive defenseman the Kraken needs. In that case, he needs to find a way to be the catalyst of scoring opportunities, rather than a player whose majority of points come from secondary contributions.

The other area that needs some improvement is creating high danger and medium danger chances. So far this season, he has created four individual high danger chances, with only one being at five on five through 34 games. His four total put him in a tie for 92nd amongst all defensemen in the NHL this season. Dunn needs to find a way to jump up in the play more and drive the offense rather than hand off the puck. If he can improve this part of his game during the remainder of the season, the Kraken could have a top-20 scoring defenseman next season.

Related: Meet the Seattle Kraken: Defenseman Vince Dunn

Dunn’s Defensive Zone Play

Overall, his defensive zone play has been improving as the season progresses. He does a good job when it comes to blocking shots and throwing hits, and the team has outshot the opposition when he is on the ice. The big issue that needs to be worked on is turnovers, especially in the defensive zone.

This season, no player on the Kraken has more turnovers or defensive zone turnovers than Dunn. He has turned over the puck a total of 24 times, with 19 of them being in the defensive zone. More concerning is 18 of the 19 turnovers in the defensive zone have come at five on five, with one coming on the power play. The Kraken as a team has the seventh-lowest turnovers in the defensive zone in the NHL. Overall, he accounts for around 14% of all turnovers in the defensive zone the Kraken have committed as a team all season.

Vince Dunn, Seattle Kraken
Vince Dunn, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

On top of being an offensive threat, the Kraken need Dunn to be solid in his own end. The good news is he still has time to develop and is trending in the right direction. Seattle prides itself as a team that is hard to play against in their own zone. If he can continue his development and limit the defensive zone turnovers, there is no reason the former St. Louis Blue can’t develop into a premier two-way defender in the NHL.

Dunn’s Future Still Very Bright

The good news is, Dunn is on pace for his best season in the NHL. Barring injury, he should pass his career-high in points (35) and assists (23) by the season’s end. As mentioned, there are some problem areas in his overall game, but there is still over half the season left, which means plenty of time to fine-tune his game. His future is very bright, and Kraken fans should be excited for what the former Niagra Ice Dog can bring to the Kraken this season and beyond.

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