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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Vince Dunn

Andi Duroux Avatar
June 5, 2015


Get to Know Vince Dunn

Date of Birth: October 29, 1996
Place of Birth: Peterborough, ON, CAN
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defense
Team: Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)

Offensive defensemen are incredibly important to any team.  They jump-start the rush with good passes, use smart stick-work to separate the opponent from the puck, contribute important offense from the blueline, quarterback the power play, and skate well enough to cover for both themselves and their teammates.

Vince Dunn is no exception to this rule.  His vision, passing, poke checks, and scoring touch provide a tantalizing package to prospective NHL teams, and his willingness to play larger than his size means he has a great deal of upside as a pro as well.


What Scouts See

Ben Kerr, 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 matures though.

Brock Otten, OHL Prospects

Offensively, Dunn is a juggernaut. His ability to handle the puck at top speed rivals that of some of the best forwards in this draft. He’s able to create a lot of extra time and space for himself with his slick puck handling skill. Dunn is also super aggressive in jumping up in the play, which is where a lot of his goals come from. He’s adept at sneaking behind defences and jumping into the slot. His skating is also a big time strength, as he pushes the pace of play.

Defensively, there are some things to like for sure. He’s not big, but he’s not afraid of mixing things up and he does a good job of hustling to get back to the defensive end after rushes. And he uses his mobility to his advantage defensively.

I think the one negative is his decision making at times. Because he’s ultra aggressive offensively, he can be prone to some poor choices when it comes to forcing passes up ice, or bad pinches. But as he gains experience, these types of mistakes could be limited. Might be one of the top pure offensive blue liners available this year and that could have him drafted inside the first round.

What BSN Avalanche sees

Dunn pinches and jumps into the rush. A lot. It’s just what he does.  After a slow start this year, he posted 41 pts in his final 32 games, and in 8 playoff contests, added another 6G / 4A to the mix.  He finished the year 6th overall in OHL defensive regular season scoring.

It can also be said that Dunn reads the play fairly well and is quick to dart in from the point. While he’s occasionally a bit too aggressive, he has a knack for showing up when he’s least expected in order to tuck away the puck.  When he’s on the ice, few rebounds or high-slot passes are safe – it’s like Niagara has another forward. 

However, he’s also very good at rushing back.  When a pinch fails and an odd-man rush breaks out the other way, he uses his speed to hustle back to pick up a player.  Dunn’s stick work is also very effective on the defensive side of the rink;  his poke checks and stick lifts are both very well timed.  The puck behaves a bit like a magnet attracted to his twig, up until the moment he uses his good vision and sharp passing to make a crisp outlet.

His shot won’t wow anyone with its strength, but it’s fairly accurate and downright deadly in close.  He’s also not the largest and could stand to gain a bit more strength, but that – along with learning when to pinch and when not to pinch – will likely come with time.


This video is from the playoffs this year.  White team #4 is Dunn.  He has the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th goals for his team.  And yes, all four came in one game.  
NHL Potential

Dunn’s probably not a guy you want on your top defensive pairing. While he does have that potential and has a fairly solid defensive game, it’s not where he really shines.   Ideally, he’d be in much the same position as Barrie right now – on an offensively minded 2nd pairing getting plenty of minutes and plenty of chances to score.

If his defensive game matures, who knows what his ceiling will be.  However, if it doesn’t and his offense doesn’t translate, he’ll struggle to make it to the show.  He’s a bit of a boom or bust pick, but the upside is there to justify the selection.

Expected Draft Position

Most scouting services have him ranked in the early- to mid-30s.  If he slips a bit, it’s possible he could still be on the board when the Avs select at #40, but he also might go during the late first round.  There are a large number of roughly equally talented players around that range, so it may just come down team needs and preferences.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

While the Avs have a good crop of larger left-handed defenseman coming through the pipeline, Will Butcher is the only offensive defenseman on the horizon.  Dunn wouldn’t fit with the organization’s desire to increase the average size of the roster, but he would add a fail-safe redundancy for that position.

With all the other holes still left on the team’s farm and system, Dunn might be a luxury the Avs can’t quite afford to take.  However, his skills could make him too attractive a choice for Sakic and Roy to pass up.

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