Seattle Kraken, Dunn and Larsson

Seattle Kraken Elite D-Men Magic

The Seattle Kraken have a dynamic duo on the back-end arguably as effective as most in the National Hockey League. Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson get some attention, much of it likely due to Dunn’s recent 12-game point streak and his prolific league leading scoring totals since New Years, but the twosome probably deserves more.

Symbolic of their productivity is their recent heroics. Dunn scored the game winner in overtime two victories ago at the San Jose Sharks when he rushed in and beat James Reimer five-hole (that’s between the legs) at the 1:58 mark. The huge win stopped the bleeding as the Seattle Kraken had lost three games in a row at home.

Next up, the “Big Cat”. Larsson rushed to the net and tallied the game winning goal at 1:52 of overtime in Seattle’s latest victory, 5-4 at the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

In the game Larsson blocked seven shots, had two takeaways and delivered two hits. He played a team leading 24:27 while his partner Dunn skated 24:06. Larsson also had an assist to go with the GWG.

Dunn had his consecutive game scoring streak snapped. He wouldn’t mind as the Seattle Kraken picked up the win.

Seattle Kraken D Dangle

Typically Larsson lays the lumber in the D-zone while Dunn works his way into situations offensively. Dunn is on the power play, Larsson on the penalty kill.

But “Big Cat” showed off some fancy dangle with his winner in Big-D.

“The big cat Lars’ with a silky goal, he’s sneaky silky like that, he’s got it like that,” Seattle Kraken goalie Joey Daccord said after the win. “So it was cool to see him take advantage of that opportunity.”

“Great play in overtime by Lars’ from (Jared) McCann, that transition play,” Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame. “Those are the kinds of plays you need this time of year to earn another valuable point.”

The Kraken gave up not one, but two goals with Dallas’s net empty. Joe Pavelski scored with the extra attacker and then Jamie Benn did as well to tie the game with less than one second remaining. Seattle didn’t get down.

“It was a tough break,” Larsson said, “but we still believed. So it was a great, great team win tonight.”


Dunn and Larsson compliment one another delightfully.

Dunn’s analytics show him with the best on-ice expected goals numbers of any of the Seattle Kraken D-men by far. The club is 12% more likely to score when he’s on the ice than when he’s off it. Part of that productivity comes from him being the lone defenseman on the top power play unit.

Larsson’s offensive numbers overall aren’t as productive as he takes care of business back in his own end and works on the top penalty kill. That unit has seen solid stretches lately but for the season the statistics haven’t been good. He leads the club by far with 152 blocked shots. He leads the club in hits as well with 186. Dunn is no slouch with 103.

By the way, five of the six regular Seattle Kraken D-men have scored more goals than expected, with Dunn way ahead of his number. Dunn has 13 goals and 57 points, the latter number second on the team. Larsson is at six and 30.

Math only tells you so much. Hockey is a game of mistakes and odd bounces, a game of emotion and a game of chemistry. Dunn and Larsson have it and that’s hard to quantify.

It’s a special pair regardless of how you add them up.

((– Imagine if Jakob Chychrun had been added to the left side. He went from the Arizona to the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline and had a goal and an assist against the Kraken on March 9th in Ottawa’s 5-4 win –))

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.