It very likely won’t come down to it, but the Seattle Kraken and top-pair lefty defenseman Vince Dunn have 12 days to get a deal done before their scheduled arbitration date on July 24th.
Kraken General Manager Ron Francis and Dunn’s agent Pat Morris will be talking a lot between now and then and it’s expected they’ll get a deal completed. It behooves the club in particular, because with the 26-year-old defenseman being just one year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility, they’d risk losing him after next season. That’s because arbitrated contracts with a player in that situation are capped at one year.
It’s a nice bit of leverage for the player and a good reason for the team to want to sweeten the pot. Dunn is entering his prime, shown by his career numbers in 2022-’23 with 64 points, 14 goals, 50 assists in 81 games played. He had seven points in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
By the way, historically, a majority of NHL players have shown the uncanny ability to put up peak numbers in the season before their contract is up.*
Regardless, Francis will need to decide if he wants to go long. Dunn is eligible for an eight-year deal as a returning player to the organization.
He made $4-million each of the last two seasons and should be looking at something between $7 and $8-million per year in his next deal.
Morris might be saying “Umm, keep going up.”
One comparable to keep in mind: Mikhail Sergachev in Tampa just signed an eight-year deal for $8.5-million per season. He’s a year younger than Dunn and slightly larger, but they’re both capable of playing either side of the D, they play similar minutes, even though Sergachev is considered a 2nd-pair D-man behind Victor Hedman, and they put up the identical number of points last season.
Their share of potential ice time? Both Dunn and Sergachev were at 39%, with minute munching being the key stat when determining the overall importance of a defenseman.
Their historical track record in terms of offensive output per game is similar as well.
Sergachev helped the Lightning win two Stanley Cups, Dunn helped the St. Louis Blues win one (2019) before coming to the Kraken in the expansion draft in 2021.
Bonus for both: Florida and Washington have no state income tax.
*Like Dunn, entering this contract, Sergachev put up career highs in games played, goals (tied), assists and points.
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