Who is Vince Dunn?
Vince Dunn is a 6'0'' 185lb defencemen for the Niagara IceDogs. He was born on October 29th 1996 in Ontario so he is older for this draft class (2014 eligibility ended September 1996) and he is the 32nd ranked North American skater. He is an offensive-minded defender with a great shot, can make every pass, and is great in puck possession, but has some questions defensively. His stats are below:
According to CHL Stats, Dunn's 56 points were 6th in the OHL among defenders and his points per game were a respectable 10th among defenders. He also led his team in ice time with an estimated 23+ minutes. That is not among the elite in the OHL though has the most used blue-liners clock 28+ minutes. He was 4th on the IceDogs in both points and points per game. His NHLe is 20, this means that his performance would have correlated to roughly 20 points at the NHL level of play. As a reference frame, Adam Larsson was our highest scoring defenceman last year with 24.
His measurables are solid, but don't jump off the page. However, according to the Sports Testing Inc. evaluation of prospects during the week of the Top Prospects Game, he has the 4th best NHL fitness rating among qualified prospects, behind only McDavid (Projected 1st Overall), Mitch Marner (Projected 6th Overall), and Travis Konecny (Projected top 20).
What Are Others Saying About Vince Dunn?
Jason Menard of Hockey's Future quoting Vince Dunn:
"They’ve definitely been saying that I can’t play defense, but I definitely think that I can prove them wrong by playing the best game that I can every game. I have to try to tighten up my defensive game," Dunn said. "I mean, I don’t think my defensive game is all that bad. I mean, Connor McDavid didn’t have any pointless games until I was matched up with him. I thought that was one of my better games.
"I don’t think my defense is that bad, it’s just more of a focusing thing. When I want to play defense, then I can play it just as well as anyone else."
He's right about that. In this November 6th game, he was matched with McDavid and held him pointless for the first time of the year after 14 games with a point and 12 with multiple points. However, he did also take two stick penalties which couldn't have helped his team playing against the OHL's best powerplay. Still, outscoring McDavid being matched up with him is no small task and it shows his ceiling.
Joe Curtis from Elite Prospects
Is great with his stick; possesses a good shot and makes seamless tape-to-tape passes...All-in-all, an offensive defenceman who will thrive in a system where puck possession is key.
Ben Kerr from Last Word on Sports
Vince Dunn is an outstanding skater. He has good speed in both directions, excellent agility, and very good pivots. This mobility defines his game in all areas. He is able to join the rush, and pinch at the blue line but still get back defensively. This is something Dunn takes full advantage of as he pinches in a lot, either to keep pucks in along the boards, or to sneak into an opening in the slot to get a high quality scoring chance. His speed and quickness make him tough to beat to the outside if he’s properly positioned. Dunn could use a bit more lower body strength though, he can get pushed around a bit in board battles and in fighting for loose pucks, and in front of the net. Some added strength on his skates and balance should come as he matrues though.
Ben Kerr has a really good write-up on Dunn and thoroughly analyzes some of his offensive boons and defensive pitfalls. He mentions gap control and overreaching offensively as chief causes for concern.
Eldon MacDonald of The Hockey Writers
[After] .6 points per game in his first 35 games...Vince just poured it on averaging 1.1 points per game for the rest of the regular season plus almost a goal a game in the playoffs. It’s not just the stats – it is the skating, the agility, the shot, the passing and the excitement on the power play when he is on the ice.
They rank him 39th overall at THW and also separately list him as the #8 defender.
Yahoo!'s Neate Sager also had a one-on-one with him.
Keep in mind that he's #4 in all of the highlights below.
At 0:16 Dunn gets an assist off a deflection. You see him pause to wait for his teammate to get in position and then give a nice low snap shot for a solid goal from a not-so-dangerous spot on the ice.
At 1:29 we see him as a defender. It's tough to see how he lets Baptiste get so open. The announcer says he came straight off the bench, but Dunn was in no-mans land. Then he gives a half-fast push, lays down on the ice facing the shooter in terrible position to block, and then gives a lazy swat at him as he glides across the crease. On the plus side, the only reason he even got back in time to do any of that nonsense was because of his blazing speed.
Then, at 2:14, he puts in a nice goal under significant defensive pressure by getting to the slot and ripping it off the far post. A great shot and it's exactly the kind of thing he's done all year -- pinch and produce.
At 1:32 Dunn misjudges the puck off the board and struggles to get back in time. What happens after is not his fault though. He actually plays the 2-on-1 pretty well, matching the forwards speeds, nearing the man with the puck, and laying out to prevent the cross-ice pass. It's not his fault that it became a 3-on-1
At 3:23, he's the trailer who does what he does best.
An Opinion of Sorts
It's clear to me from the video and what others have said that his defense could use some work. I don't see him as an other-worldly game-changing behemoth, and with Damon Severson, Larsson, and Eric Gelinas, we already have a lot of young, offensive defencemen. However, if we want to one day have someone play the Marek Zidlicky role of quarterbacking the powerplay and moving the puck, that is something that we do not currently have in the system. If we went with him in the 2nd round after getting a forward in the 1st I wouldn't mutiny. If we are getting a defender, I think a puck-mover is something that we could use so there are worse choices.
Are you interested? Are you writing off all defenders until out forward prospect pool is replenished? If we DO go with a defender in the 2nd round, are you cool with a guy like Dunn? Leave your thoughts below!