The Seattle Kraken avoided an arbitration hearing with defenseman Vince Dunn as the two sides agreed to a four-year contract for $29.4 million Friday night, locking up a key piece of their defense.
The deal carries an average annual value (AAV) of $7.35 million and it is a deserved upgrade for the blueliner who is coming off of a career season and a big part of why the Kraken reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after upsetting the defending champion Colorado Avalanche in the first round in seven games.
Dunn’s 2022-23 Season
In 81 regular-season games last season, Dunn set career highs in goals with 14, assists with 50, and points with 64. He ranked second on the team in points and was first in assists. Just how good was his season? He ranked in the top 10 in goals, assists, and points 5-on-5. San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and he was the only other blueliner who made more goals and points. He was 11th among skaters with a plus-36 at even strength and he was on the ice for 115 even strength goals.
In the playoffs, the 6-foot-0, 200-pound left shot had one goal and six assists against the Avalanche and Dallas Stars in 14 games. His goal was the only Seattle goal in a 4-1 Game 6 loss at home to Colorado before the Kraken went on the road to win Game 7. His numbers slipped a bit in the two series, but he averaged 23 minutes a night and was routinely on the ice against Colorado and Dallas’ top-six. The 26-year-old played on the top pairing for the Kraken and has become a staple on defense since being left unprotected by the St. Louis Blues in the Expansion Draft. In 421 regular-season games between Seattle and St. Louis, the 56th overall pick of the 2015 Entry Draft has 53 goals and 148 assists. He won the Stanley Cup in 2019 with the Blues in seven games over the Boston Bruins.
Seattle Continues to Add & Lock Up Key Pieces This Offseason
Seattle general manager (GM) Ron Francis has been busy this summer filling spots left by free agents leaving and looking to improve the team who made the postseason in just its second season. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin was signed, as were forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
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Dunn is the third player that Francis has avoided an arbitration hearing with this offseason, previously signing Will Borgen on July 7 and Cale Fleury on July 9. Dunn’s deal is one that benefits both the player and the team as he is going into his prime seasons, coming off of a career year, and will lead the defense as the organization looks to take the next step in the playoffs under coach Dave Hakstol who got a new two-year contract that runs through the 2025-26 season after the success his team had in 2022-23 (from ‘Seattle Kraken extend Dave Hakstol’s contract after surprising 2022-23 season,’ Grand Forks Herald, July 19, 2023).