It’s seems to have been a coming out party in 2022-’23 for Kraken D-man Vince Dunn, who in reality is just taking advantage of his latest opportunities.
On Wednesday, the 26-year-old lefty was named the NHL’s 3rd-Star for the month of January, behind forwards Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins.
Dunn posted a career-high and Kraken club record nine game point streak during the month in route to producing five goals, 12 assists and 17 points, tops for an NHL blueliner.
A minute muncher with right-handed partner Adam Larsson on the top pair, Dunn has logged 27-and-a-half minutes in a game on three separate occasions this past month. His season high in regulation is 29:00 in a 5-2 win over the Panthers back on December 11th. Time on ice is the key indicator of a defenseman’s effectiveness.
Given his career arc and his general development, none of these impressive numbers or the accolades should come as a surprise.
In his second NHL season, Dunn won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. He contributed two goals and six assists over twenty playoff games that spring.
Age-21 at the time, Dunn learned plenty from the venerable Jay Bouwmeester, who was 34, and other savvy and effective veterans like Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Gunnarsson, and Robert Bortuzzo. Dunn provided some good balance, some added offensive upside, and young, durable legs for the two month march through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
One can’t underestimate the importance of that experience; the knowledge of what it takes. Kraken General Manager Ron Francis has sneakily assembled a roster that has a half dozen former Cup winners, including Dunn’s teammate in St. Louis, Jaden Schwartz.
Goalies Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones are two more with rings, forward Yanni Gourde won two in Tampa, Andre Burakovsky earned one last season, and D-man Justin Schultz won two Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s a fraternity of the finest, and with less depth in Seattle at the moment than St. Louis had at the time, Dunn is free to grab the reigns.
As Dunn went in January, so went the Kraken.