Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn spoke with media on Wednesday about his new four-year, $7.35-million per season contract that was finalized last week. The deal takes him to age 30 and three years into unrestricted free agency.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m trying to run away at 30, it’s a good age to renegotiate for both sides,” Dunn pointed out. “There’s going to be a lot of different changes with maybe a possible expansion team or the (salary) cap rising, so I think it just makes things easier for both sides over the next four years. And I’ve talked to them before, by no means do I want to leave after those four years, I’ve loved every single moment I’ve been a part of this organization. They changed my career, my life, for the best two ago.”
Now it comes down to sustaining performance for the 26-year-old, top-pair lefty who put up career highs in goals (14), assists (50), and points (64) in 2022-’23.
“I don’t really have any major personal goals,” Dunn said. “I don’t want to drop off by any means, but I think more or less I want to put the team first like I did last year, and like everyone did last year, and just focus on team goals. I think we’re so close to achieving something really special, and I think that’s where everyone is focused.”
He and partner Adam Larsson ate up 39% of the potential ice time on the blueline for the Kraken, a club that not only surprised the NHL by making the playoffs in the franchise’s 2nd season, but by making it one game short of the Western Conference Finals.
“We’re not going to be a surprise for any teams coming in the next season,” Dunn stated. “We’re gonna get everyone’s best and we need to be prepared with that. So for us, I think having the goal to to make the playoffs again is very reasonable and very achievable. We’ve lost some pieces but we’ve definitely added some really good parts of the team.”
One of those parts comes along the blueline with the addition of fellow-lefty and fellow former Stanley Cup champion Brian Dumoulin. The Kraken feature a remarkable collection of ultimate winners, Philipp Grubauer as a young goalie with the Washington Capitals, Andre Burakovsky with the Capitals and the Colorado Avalanche, Dunn and Jaden Schwartz with the St. Louis Blues, Yanni Gourde with the Tampa Bay Lightning twice, and Justin Schultz and Dumoulin twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s almost a stealth factor, considering otherwise the Kraken are an “upstart” second year franchise, with what Dunn describes as a chip on its shoulder.
“We’re not going to be a pushover,” Dunn stated. “We need to roll with the confidence that we built, the culture that we built, and just continue that in the seasons ahead and and not look back. I think we definitely have a chip on our shoulder from last season. We saw how close we could get. I think we just need to bring that into the next year and really believe that we have a team that can win.”
Kraken head Coach Dave Hakstol earned a two-year contract extension early last week and talked about his approach to this season with what he considers an upgraded, competitive roster.
“My hope is it brings us into camp with our feet on the ground, with a highly motivated group, a group that understands each other a little bit better than we did at this time last year,” Hakstol said on July 20th. “We understand our formula a bit better and that’s our platform to work off of and show advancement this year.”
Everyone that’s expected to play for the Kraken has signed. Dunn’s deal was the last piece of the puzzle.
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