3. Where does Vince Dunn fit on the depth chart?
Going into the 2020-21 NHL offseason, the St. Louis Blues had a pretty big question mark on their books in the form of restricted free agent defenseman Vince Dunn.
Dunn, a homegrown second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, broke into the Blues’ defensive rotation in 2017-18 and remained a steady presence on the left side of the blue line for each of the next three seasons. He’s averaged roughly 17 minutes of action a night, recorded 20-plus points in each of his professional seasons, and holds the rare distinction of having never recorded a negative +/- over a full NHL season.
Theoretically, Dunn is the exact kind of player any team would like to keep around for a very long time, but after locking up Torey Krug and Marco Scandella on long-term deals, that became far less clear.
Factor in a brutal cap situation that saw the team allow long-time captain Alex Pietrangelo walk in free agency, and suddenly the Blues being able to secure Dunn’s services for one year on a $1.875 million deal looked like a bargain.
With a chip on his shoulder and a dedicated desire to earn a long-term deal, Dunn is surely going to come out with his pants on fire for all 56 of the team’s games. But what will his role be? Though he’ll surely spend the majority of his time as a third banana behind Krug and Scandella, could Dunn see his playing time inch closer to the 20-minute mark? And what about power plays? Dunn is unquestionably one of the more intriguing third-line offensive defensemen in the NHL and could see his playing time increase when his team needs a little extra firepower up 5-4.
Certainly file this one under the “things to watch” tab moving forward.