What’s going on with the Blues defenseman?
St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn’s career can be compared to “Where’s Waldo?”
Dunn, who was originally drafted 56th overall by the Blues in the 2015 NHL Draft, grew up cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his minor hockey career with the Central Ontario Wolves and the Peterborough Petes at the bantam and midget levels, respectively. His time spent in Peterborough put him in a position to be drafted.
Dunn told The Peterborough Examiner: “Moving to Peterborough and playing in Peterborough was the best thing for me…They had a really good team and I had a lot of great coaches there who helped me over the past few seasons. Going to Peterborough really helped.”
When asked about the Blues, Dunn responded: “I know they’re a really good organization with a really good hockey base and fan base.”
Dunn began his professional hockey career with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in 2016-17. He recorded his first career AHL goal in a 4-2 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on October 15, 2016. At 20 years old, he became the youngest player on the Wolves’ roster and led the Wolves’ defense in scoring with 45 points in 72 games.
Dunn made the Blues’ opening night roster in 2017-18. He made his NHL debut in a 5-4 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were the defending Stanley Cup champions at the time, on October 4, 2017. He scored his first NHL goal eight days later in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. He continued his success as the first Blues rookie to record four points in one game since Rik Wilson on January 16, 1982.
Dunn, however, had his fair share of injuries, including the time where he took a puck to his face and it broke his jaw. Now, I know I’m more patient when it comes to injured players and their recovery times, but there’s only so many chances for him. He’s not matching or exceeding his last two seasons. He has just 20 points in 43 games with a -8 rating. Twenty points isn’t the worst statistic, but the -8 is decreasing his value. He’s not worth the one-year, $1.875 million contract with the Blues.
Last week, Dunn didn’t play in the first game against the Minnesota Wild as he was still sidelined with an upper-body injury, and he wouldn’t play in the second game against the Wild the following day. He was absent from Sunday’s practice after attending Saturday’s practice. He didn’t play in Game 1 of the first round against the Colorado Avalanche, but he skated at an optional practice. He didn’t go on the ice for warmups before the puck drop in Game 2. He’ll probably have to miss Game 3 before he returns.
But does it really matter if Dunn returns? Maybe or maybe not. He has missed the last 13 games. He’s 24 turning 25 on October 29th. While he’s still young with the ability to bounce back with fine-tuned defensive skills and better stickhandling on one-on-one battles, he’s running out of time. He’ll become a restricted free agent this summer. We’ll just have to wait and see.