The St. Louis Blues have a very busy offseason coming up after a first-round sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak, and Mike Hoffman are all unrestricted free agents, while Zach Sanford, Ivan Barbashev, Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou are all set to become restricted free agents. One other name without a contract for next season is pending RFA defenseman Vince Dunn, who has been on and off the trade block all season.
Tonight, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet indicated that Dunn’s name is once again coming up in preliminary trade talks:
One of the players I think some teams are beginning to ask about is Vince Dunn of the St. Louis Blues.
There was a time during the year where the Blues were thinking about maybe moving him, they were asking for a first-round pick in return. I’m hearing some chatter around him right now, we’ll see what his future is.
Dunn, 24, settled for a one-year $1.875MM contract just a few days before Blues camp opened this season but will have the advantage of salary arbitration this time around. Despite being a healthy scratch early in the season and seeing his name in trade rumors all year, Dunn actually ended up averaging more minutes this season than any of his previous campaigns and scored at a strong rate. His 20 points in 43 games put him on a per-game pace ahead of teammate Justin Faulk, and continued the strong offensive performance he’s had through the first four years of his career.
Since he came into the NHL in 2017-18, Dunn’s 32 goals actually tie him for 27th among all defensemen. His 102 points put him 60th among NHL defenders over the same period, certainly someone that many teams around the league could use. An excellent puck-mover and powerplay quarterback, his defensive consistency has gotten him in trouble with head coach Craig Berube at times. That certainly doesn’t mean the Blues will just throw him away though, as seen by the first-round asking price they had earlier this season.
The question really is whether the team wants to commit more cap space to the back end, which already has nearly $22MM tied up in the quartet of Faulk, Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, and Marco Scandella. Of that group, three are signed long-term and Parayko, who perhaps is the most important of all, is a pending unrestricted free agent after next season.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong has never been one to shy away from making a trade to improve the club, sending out players like Jake Allen, Robby Fabbri, Joel Edmundson, Paul Stastny, and Kevin Shattenkirk over the last several years. If he finds a deal for Dunn that makes sense, it seems likely that the team would move on from the young defenseman.