(Photo: Associated Press)
Vince Dunn has 4 assists in his last 3 games. He assisted both of the goals scored by St. Louis in the recent 7-2 loss to Calgary. This is his second multi-point game of the season. His other, Oct 22nd when he put up 2 assists in Winnipeg.
Last season, Dunn scored 5 goals and registered 24 assists for 29 total points in 75 games. Vince is on pace for a career year in point production with 3 goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 29 games played. He’ll certainly beat his rookie point numbers.
If you’ve been following, you’re aware that Dunn’s 3 goals came in the first 6 games of the season. The young, offensive-minded defenseman hasn’t found the back of the net since (23 games).
Vince is shooting the puck more. He averages 4.1 Shots per game right now. He averaged 3.78 Shots per game last season.
Vince held a (3.6) Shot Percentage in 2017-18. This season, he’s improved to a (4.8) Shot Percentage thus far. Last season, Dunn averaged (1.84) Shots on Goal per game. So far, this season, he has averaged (2.13) Shots on Goal per game.
With all that being said, Vince Dunn has to be better in his own end.
“Vince Dunn may not score a bunch of goals, but I don’t think it’s really fair to judge a Defenseman on goals. He’s not in position to score them. The downside is that Dunn is making a bucket load of defensive mistakes. He gives the puck up in bad areas. Takes shots when he shouldn’t. Gets his shots blocked and doesn’t recover.” – Blues Rants Author, Chris Moran
“Defensemen have priorities and his are confused. He’s got a great mind for the offensive side of things but hasn’t progressed defensively. He’s a liability.” – Blues Rants Author, James Barry
The Blues’ possession metrics show that Vince Dunn and his teammates simply aren’t out there controlling and possessing the puck well enough. Right now, he holds a Corsi for (at even strength) of (49.7%) which is 9th among Blues players. This is a big change from last season. Dunn held a (54.7%) which was good for 3rd on the team (2017-18).
Former Head Coach, Mike Yeo was completely aware of Vince Dunn’s offensive strengths as well as his defensive weaknesses. This season, I believe the reason behind Dunn receiving more Defensive Zone Starts is simply a lack of defensive depth. You’ve got to have fresh legs out there for a draw in the defensive zone. Sometimes that’s going to be Vince Dunn.
You’d much rather see a player like Dunn being utilized differently, but it hasn’t been an option.
You may not have noticed, but #29 is out there for more Defensive Zone Starts this season. Only 53.1% of his Zone Starts are Offensive. Believe it or not, last season, his Offensive Zone Starts were up to 60.8%.
His average ice time is up over a minute from last season. This season, 18:43. Last, 17:14.
How is he responding?
Dunn is turning the puck over more. He currently has 23 giveaways in 29 games. Last season, he gave the puck away just 38 times in 75 games. To clarify, 2017-18: (0.5) giveaways per game. 2018-19: (0.79) per game.
“His transition has been abysmal this year. Especially when he’s the one giving the puck up. We just don’t have the depth to cover for him.” – Blues Rants Author, Chris Moran
Too Many Penalties
He has 19 PIM in 29 games this season. Last season, he had just 20 PIM in 75 games. That’s (0.65) penalty minutes per game thus far (2018-19). Dunn only averaged (0.26) penalty minutes per game in the 2017-18 campaign.
“He’s taking too many stupid penalties, like that too many men penalty against Calgary which was absolutely his fault. He’s just not playing NHL defense and his offensive contributions aren’t canceling it out.” – Blues Rants Author, Chris Moran
Is Vince Dunn looking at a “Sophomore Slump”? I ask that regardless of the fact he’ll top his offensive numbers without a doubt. How can we call it a slump when we’ve always known his strengths are not on the defensive side of the puck? He’s just out there in difficult defensive situations this season, and he wasn’t last season.
Mike Yeo coached Vince Dunn in a manner last season that did not expose Vince Dunn’s weaknesses. This may be looked at as protecting/coddling a player. Depends on how you want to look at it, but I believe that Vince Dunn may need more time than anyone wants to believe, to become a consistent, solid NHL defender.
Now that Dunn is needed to step up and play parts he wasn’t relied on for in his Rookie season, those weaknesses are being exposed. Yes, We can count on Vince Dunn to provide Offense, but I believe that Blues opponents are fully aware that Dunn’s side is usually the side to attack.
I’ll also add that I’m not bashing Vince Dunn by any means. He’s one of my favorite young players among the league. I hope for the best.
Thanks for reading, Blues fans.