We knew coming into this season that Kevin Shattenkirk was on his way out. It was his replacement that remained to be a mystery. For the St. Louis Blues the hole left by Shattenkirk has been covered by a committee, it’s been one of the teams strengths. But if you’re looking for a “carbon copy” of the now Washington Capital, look no further than Vince Dunn. This doesn't mean Dunn is guaranteed to reach level when he hits his prime, but his rookie campaign can’t go unnoticed.
Taken in the second round, 56th overall of the 2015 NHL Draft, Dunn doesn't have the height you often see on the back end now but his skating and puck distribution more then make up for it. He’s also shown at both the junior and pro levels to be more then willing to join the rush and battle in the “dirty areas” for the puck. I think it’s safe to say that the Blues fan base as a whole knows Dunn can drop the gloves every so often. Even if that means in a hallway.
As the Chicago Wolves head into their final week of the regular season, Dunn has 42 points in 70 games. Leading all defensemen on the Wolves and 11th in the American league.
The Calder Cup playoffs are just around the corner which will have a special meaning for many on the Wolves. Of course any playoff run is important, who doesn't want to win? But this season in particular has so many rookies who haven't had a single taste of post season play as a professional. For players like Dunn the experience will be incredibly valuable.
So what is Vince Dunn’s ceiling? It’s just too early to tell as the Canadian is only at the ripe age of 20. Though as Dunn grows into his game more and continues to fine tune the skills are already there, a top four defenseman for the Blues looks to be in the cards. He’s a different player than Jordan Schmaltz, the prospect we have seen a bit of this season. Schmaltz does have an offensive upside but more often then not, he’s the “stay at home” kind of player. This isn't a knock against Schmaltz, not every player needs to stand out to be effective. But when it comes to Vince Dunn, you can expect to see his name in the box score very often.