St. Louis Blues defencemen Jay Bouwmeester has been injured since training camp when he fractured his ankle during practice. As of right now, Bouwmeester has only skated a few times because his ankle still bothers him. There is not a specific timetable for his return. The Blues are making him take it slow for now.
Rookie Vince Dunn Deserves Spot With the St. Louis Blues
With Bouwmeester out of the lineup, rookie Vince Dunn has stepped up and filled in nicely on the Blue blueline. Still, when Bouwmeester returns to the lineup, Dunn will more than likely be the odd man out. The defensive pairings will shift to look more like this:
Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo
Despite Dunn’s strong play, The Blues are likely going to use a more experienced blueline. That means more experienced NHL veterans like Carl Gunnarsson or Joel Edmundson will draw in the lineup over Dunn.
Dunn, however, is making a strong case for himself to stay in the lineup. He is proving that he has what it takes to play in the NHL full-time. In his 16 games this season, he has four points, is plus seven and averages 16:35 minutes per game. While this might not seem like much, he is a noticeable presence on the ice. He constantly gets involved in the plays. Dunn has shown poise beyond his years in his own end so far as well.
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) October 29, 2017
Dunn is a rookie and that comes with a learning curve. He does make inexperienced mistakes on the ice from time to time. However, being paired with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has been a steadying force that has helped him gain experience that will continue to make him a better defenceman.
From 2013-2016, Vince Dunn played with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. He registered 132 points and was plus-eight in 183 career games. He was drafted in the second round by the Blues in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Dunn played one season for the Chicago Wolves in 2016-17. He had 45 points and was plus 15 in 72 regular season games with the Blues AHL affiliate.
Dunn has shown a steady improvement in his pro-development. If he continues to build upon his previous season while playing in the NHL, he could turn into a great NHL defenceman. The Blues just might not be able to offer him the chance this season, even though he has earned it. Barring another injury to another left-handed defenceman, Dunn will continue his development in the AHL. Still, it is a positive sign for the Blues. They have an emerging blueline talent that has proved he belongs in the NHL.
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