The Montreal Canadiens suffered their third loss in a row on Saturday with a 5-0 thumping at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. They’ve been outscored 12-4 over that span and it has left the Canadiens searching for answers. Lines and defence pairs have been juggled and Victor Mete has been placed on waivers on Sunday afternoon. Injuries can be looked at as a reason for their struggles as they are missing two of the most important pieces of the roster in Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher. However, every team goes through injuries. You have to find a way to overcome them. One of the biggest issues has been the play of the Canadiens defence. While the Canadiens are considered a fast team, their defence isn’t the most mobile. However, there is a player on the market who fits exactly what the Canadiens need. His name is Vince Dunn.
Canadiens Need to Try to Acquire Vince Dunn from the St. Louis Blues
The Need for Mobility
The Canadiens biggest need right now is a mobile, puck-moving defenceman. With Shea Weber, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson, the Canadiens back end is rather slow. Players like Brett Kulak can skate well, however, he’s not a true top-four pairing defenceman and is certainly not a quality option for the top pairing. Neither are Edmundson or Chiarot, who have been miscast in their roles. Newly acquired Jonathon Merrill is an excellent puck mover and has been playing a top-four role for the Detroit Red Wings this season. However, he is more of a depth option.
Alexander Romanov is promising, however, he still needs to grow into this role. And with the chance Mete getting claimed, the Canadiens defence finds itself even less mobile.
However, Vince Dunn could fix these issues for the Canadiens. He’s an extremely gifted skater with outstanding puck handling skills and vision. His skating is what defines his game. It allows him to effectively carry the puck out of the zone and jump in on the rush to create offence. But also allows him to get back into his zone and close the gap between him and his opponent, making him a difficult player to beat wide on the rush.
Now playing in his fourth year with the St. Louis Blues, he is on pace to tie his best season in terms of points per game averaging .44 points per game. This season, Dunn has scored five goals and 17 points in 39 games. It’s a solid contribution for a player playing just over 19 minutes per game. He has been trusted more and more by the Blues this season, as his average ice time is up by over three minutes per game as opposed to last season. A huge jump for the 24-year-old defender.
Helping Out the Powerplay
Dunn is what many would consider a powerplay specialist. While he’s not limited to that, it’s where he puts in his best work. And is an area the Canadiens could certainly use some help as they’ve struggled recently. Dunn has the ability to quarterback the powerplay. Something that the team has been missing the days of Andrei Markov.
However, Dunn also has an excellent shot. So not only does he control the powerplay but he can also be used as a weapon himself. Out of Dunn’s 31 career goals, 10 have come on the man advantage. Almost a third of Dunn’s points have come with the man advantage. 31 of Dunn’s 99 career points have come with the extra man. Having a weapon like Dunn on the point would help open up so many more options for the Canadiens, and allow them to become an actual threat with the man advantage.
The Cost to Land Dunn
While speaking on TSN 690, David Pagnotta of thefourthperiod.com stated the Blues are looking to make a “hockey deal” if they were to trade Vince Dunn. He states the Blues would rather acquire a roster player than draft picks for the young defender. Pagnotta goes on to mention Habs forward Artturi Lehkonen specifically, as a deal that would make sense. And while it may not be in the best interest for the Habs to move Lehkonen, this is the type of deal where Bergevin would have to bait the bullet to get it done. With the amount of depth the Canadiens have up front, a Lehkonen for Dunn swap makes sense.
Another name would be centre Jake Evans. Given the Habs’ recent acquisition of Eric Staal and the development of Ryan Poehling, the Habs are set at the centre position for the present and future. While it would more than likely be more than a one-for-one swap with any of these players involved, both teams would be filling a need. It makes a ton of sense for the two teams to become trade partners and hammer out a deal.
Busy 24 Hours Coming for Bergevin
Regardless of what happens, we know Marc Bergevin is going to be one of the busiest general managers during the next 24 hours. He’s already made two moves leading up to the deadline. First, acquiring Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres. And more recently added depth to the back end acquiring Jon Merrill from the Red Wings. However, we don’t believe he is done yet. He still needs to make a play for a top-four defender, and Vince Dunn should be on the top of his wish list.