Montreal Canadiens: Lack of Interest In Vince Dunn Proof of Habs Depth

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19: Vince Dunn Paul Byron Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 19: Vince Dunn Paul Byron Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was at his worst in the summer of 2017, at least in my opinion.

The Canadiens had won their division in 2016-17 but were dumped from the postseason in just six games. They lost to the New York Rangers because they simply could not find any offence when it was needed most.
This was a familiar refrain throughout that decade. Carey Price would play brilliant and carry the team into the postseason, but their lack of depth and high end scoring would prove fatal. A goaltender can only do so much on his own.

So, it was hoped that the Canadiens would add to their forward crop in the offseason. The team relied heavily on their top line of Max Pacioretty, Phillip Danault and Alex Radulov for its scoring. The second line of Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher scored some, but they played tough minutes against the opposition’s best and were more of a shutdown line than a scoring trio.

The bottom six offered little offence with the likes of Paul Byron and Andrew Shaw scoring some but going dry in the postseason. Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, and trade deadline acquisitions Steve Ott, Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen combined for one playoff point.

Instead of searching for a scoring centre that could play with Pacioretty, Bergevin completely dismantled the defence that was more than adequate. He literally got rid of every left shot defenceman on the team and replaced them with much, much worse options.

Andrei Markov was allowed to walk as a free agent because Bergevin didn’t want to give him two years. Alexei Emelin was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Nathan Beaulieu was traded for a fourth round draft pick. Nikita Nesterov went back to Russia. Even Mikhail Sergachev, the team’s top prospect who played just seven games was traded away for Jonathan Drouin.

The only left D that stayed in town were depth pieces Jordie Benn and Brandon Davidson who were both picked up late in the season.

Bergevin’s scrambling attempt to replace all these players who played the same position left the Habs looking to upgrade the left defence position for a long time. Well, until now.

Bergevin’s immediate answer on left defence for the 2017-18 season was to sign Karl Alzner to a monster contract, expect Benn to be a top four defenceman, and have Joe Morrow, David Schlemko, Jake Jerabek and 39 year old Mark Streit fill in the gaps.

When Alzner struggled all season and Benn showed he was no more than a third pairing guy, those gaps proved enormous and no one was able to properly slot in to fill them.

That left the Canadiens hoping Victor Mete could magically become a top four guy at the age of 19.

Since then, pretty much every rumour involving a left defenceman was met with Habs fans clamouring to find a way to get that player to Montreal. When the Habs were named a winner of a top three pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, it was hoped they would get the first pick because Rasmus Dahlin would fill their biggest need.

When rumours of any other left D circulated, suddenly Habs fans were drawing up trade proposals or hypothetical contracts to land Cam Fowler, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Torey Krug, Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean, Duncan Keith, Ryan Murray, Jonas Brodin, Nick Leddy, Shayne Gostisbehere, Calvin de Haan or any other player that could play top four minutes on the left side.

However, there was mention last week that Vince Dunn of the St. Louis Blues is available for trade, and there hasn’t been a peep out of Habs fans trying to find a way to acquire him. Dunn is a 24 year old left defenceman with three years of NHL experience under his belt, including a Stanley Cup win in 2019. He scored 35 points that season and added eight in 20 playoff games.

He is a slightly older and better defensive version of Victor Mete. Had he been available any of the past three seasons, Canadiens fans would be drooling at the possibility of him stepping into the lineup and learning from Jeff Petry and Shea Weber.

However, Bergevin has added Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson and Alexander Romanov to the left side of the defence since the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Suddenly, that huge void that has been apparent since Markov, Emelin, Sergachev and Beaulieu all left town in the same summer isn’t so wide.

Next. Caufield leads NCAA in goals and points. dark

In fact, much like centre went from a big weakness to a strength, left defence for the Habs is suddenly very deep. The fact we haven’t seen 100 Habs fans making trade proposals for Vince Dunn all over the internet is proof of that fact.