Dunn deal. Get it? 

The Seattle Kraken reportedly signed left-shot defenseman Vince Dunn to a four-year contract with an annual cap hit of $7.35 million.

The deal means the team and player avoid a contentious arbitration hearing, which had been scheduled for July 24. With the contract signed, Dunn now becomes the highest-paid player on the Kraken. 

Dunn, selected from the St. Louis Blues in Seattle’s Expansion Draft, blossomed into a top defenseman last season. The puck mover played on the top pair with Adam Larsson throughout the year and quarterbacked Seattle’s power play. 

Coming off a two-year deal that paid him $4 million per season, Dunn was the last remaining restricted free agent for the Kraken to sign this offseason. The contract eats up most of Seattle’s remaining cap space, which CapFriendly now projects to be just $934,424. 

The Kraken will surely create extra breathing room by placing either Chris Driedger or Joey Daccord on waivers after training camp, but still, if nothing changes between now and then, Seattle will be within spitting distance of the cap. So, this could mean the Kraken front office is close to finished with its offseason tinkering. At this point, any significant upgrades would likely have to come via player-for-player trade, as a futures-for-player trade wouldn’t fit. 

A deal months in the making

It is no surprise to see this deal get done. From the day Seattle’s season ended, Francis and Dunn both expressed a desire to get a long-term deal consummated. Dunn told media on locker cleanout day that he was “all in” on the Kraken organization and had every intention of staying in Seattle for the foreseeable future. It was always his expectation that he would be here beyond the upcoming season. 

While this contract took longer to get done than the smaller, less complicated ones signed by RFA’s Kole Lind, Will Borgen, and Cale Fleury earlier this summer, it was always going to happen. Kraken fans can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as the looming arbitration hearing would have resulted in a one-year deal being awarded. 

What the Kraken have in Vince Dunn

Dunn, 26, had a nice breakout for Seattle last season, and at one point was hearing his name mentioned in Norris Trophy conversations. After his first five seasons in the NHL, he had never scored more than 35 points, but in 2022-23, he erupted for 64 points (14—50=64). 

The career season was surely helped by his veteran, stay-at-home defense partner, Larsson, who allowed Dunn to roam more freely and make riskier stretch passes to send teammates on odd-man rushes. Larsson is under contract for two more seasons, so the top pair will likely remain intact at least through 2024-25. This new deal also means Dunn will remain in Seattle throughout the prime of his career, as he will be under contract with the Kraken until he turns 30 years old. 

Darren Brown

Darren Brown is the Chief Content Officer at soundofhockey.com and the host of the Sound Of Hockey Podcast. He is a member of the PHWA and is also usually SOH’s Twitter intern (but please pretend you don’t know that). Follow him @DarrenFunBrown and @sound_hockey or email darren@soundofhockey.com.

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