The St. Louis Blues have invested a good amount of time in Vince Dunn. He has not repaid that faith with enough results to warrant continuing to trot him out there.
The Blues don’t have to get rid of him or banish him forever, but they cannot count on him right now. It’s time to give up on this Dunn experiment and treat him as they do a lot of other guys.
I won’t pretend that I was chewing my fingernails about whether the team signed him or not. While Scott Perunovich is completely unproven, he plays a similar game to Dunn, so it would not have been outside the realm of possibility to let Dunn walk and see what the kid has.
Dunn is a decent player. Don’t let anyone say he’s not worthy of being an NHL player.
The problem is he’s not effective enough on the offensive end to cover up for his defensive problems. If you were getting a consistent goal scorer or even an assist machine, it would be different, but you’re not.
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Dunn is a turnover machine. He has averaged almost 40 turnovers per season in his three years in the NHL.
That might not sound like a ton, but it’s not just the turnovers in and of themselves. He manages to give the puck away in the worst possible areas.
In the Blues game on January 24, 2021, against the Los Angeles Kings, Dunn single handedly accounted for three goals against. Eliminate those mistakes and the Blues go to overtime at the very least.
There is no sense in trying a cross-ice pass with an opponent directly between you and your intended target in the offensive zone, much less your own zone. Everyone makes mistakes, but when they happen time and time again, something has to be done to correct them.
Dunn is constantly guilty of getting caught on the rush when the puck is turned over. Either you have to be smarter with your passes or smarter about needing to stay back from time to time.
Why is Dunn continually rewarded with special teams time? He is thrown out there power play after power play and comes up dry more often than not.
His offense and willingness to shoot was the reason, initially. He’s got a career best of 10 points on the power play in one season.
That’s fine if you have no other options. Justin Faulk is sitting on the bench, watching this all go on, when he’s got career highs of 12 goals on the power play in one season and 20 points total in another season.
Faulk was on the top power play unit for years in Carolina. Now, he’s not on any power play unit with the Blues.
If Dunn was providing something, you might convince me, but he’s not. Faulk can provide just as much offensive punch and has not shown himself to turn the puck over with untimely passes the way Dunn is right now.
Honestly, Dunn looks like a lost player right now. His hits have gone up each season as he tries to play a more Craig Berube style, but his takeaways have gone down each year.
Dunn is not small, but he’s not huge either. The Blues don’t need him to be gunning for opponents. They need him to take care of the puck and be sound in his position.
Whether he’s trying too hard or overmatched is up to each fan. The talent is there, but the Blues have to send a message eventually.
They don’t need to give up on him altogether, unless a good trade presented itself somehow. They do need to stop tossing him out there when other guys have been taken out of the lineup in years past for far less.
Take him off the power play. Take him out of the lineup for a game or two. Right now, the other options the Blues have could not be any worse and might be a steadier influence on the back line.