Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn’s new contract equally serves his interests and those of the team.
The bridge* contract, four years at $7.35-million per season, makes perfect sense.
Dunn earned it, but he didn’t earn eight years. The contract’s not a burden to either party.
If dude keeps it going for another four seasons, then he’ll enjoy an even bigger payday. One might hope, but not assume, that it happens with the Kraken. For now, he loves what’s going on in Seattle and wants to remain a part of it.
“They’ve let me develop not just as a person but as a player,” Dunn stated to the club’s website. “And I’m really fortunate for all the opportunities that I’ve been given. It was a big, big jump for me to do what I did this year. I got a lot of opportunity and tried to make the most of it. I know it’s only up from here and the demand is just going to keep growing on me so I’m ready for that. I’m really excited for what’s ahead.”
For the player, let’s face it, he’s proven things at an elite level for just one season, so he earns a nice chunk of change that eats only three years into unrestricted free agency. He’s presumably in his prime.
For the Kraken, a happy medium as well. They get him at around market value, but they’re not on the hook for a massive long-term deal involving a player who, again, still needs to prove himself over a longer haul.
We’ve addressed his basic analytics and the fact he eats up around 39% of the available ice time, the most important analytic indicator of all. He and Adam Larsson headline the D-corps.
With the addition of Brian Dumoulin, the group gets even stronger, deeper, and more experienced. It’s yet another player with Stanley Cup championship credentials, and we’ve seen just how invaluable that has been for this franchise.
Surround yourself with winners.
“He’s been through it,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said of Dumoulin on July 2nd. “He’s another guy that we can add into that dressing room that … there’s nothing that we’re going to see this upcoming year that he hasn’t been through already.”
Hakstol then added that in his head, he’s playing with a couple of different blueline alignments.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions in terms of D-pairings and things like that, but this is a guy who can … there’s a couple of pairings that I have in mind that he fits very well with.”
Dumoulin is an accomplished penalty killer and if it becomes necessary, the lefty is comfortable playing both sides of the ice.
Given that Dunn and Larsson are a lock to start the season as the top pair, that really only leaves Hakstol a couple of scenarios. One of which involves Dumoulin playing with Justin Schultz, his teammate from the two Cup titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
That set up looks like this:
Vince Dunn – Adam Larsson
Brian Dumoulin – Justin Schultz
Jamie Oleksiak – Will Borgen
Extras: Cale Fleury, Jaycob Megna
Wild card: Ryker Evans
Schultz at $3-million and Megna at $762,000 both have deals expiring after this season. The rest of the Kraken D-corps is signed through at least the following campaign. Four contracts will come due prior to the 2025-’26 season.
*As described earlier in the article, a bridge contract is generally safe for both parties and doesn’t eat too deeply into the player’s UFA opportunities based on his age. That opportunity, with rare exceptions, begins at age-27. Vince Dunn is 26.
For those less familiar with the vernacular, a bridge contract is a shorter term deal, utilized when either the club or the player or both are not overly interested in a long-term contract. Unless you’re signing a generational talent or a franchise player like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid or Jack Hughes — guys with definite long-term max’ deals right out of their entry-level contracts — one will more often than not see a bridge deal: Bridging the gap from entry-level to near unrestricted free agent (UFA) status, or bridging a player from restricted free agency (RFA) to UFA.
— Simmer’s Sunday: Kraken Roster and 9 Tantalizing Tidbits