A Dressing Room Distraction? Vincent Dunn’s Downfall

Unwritten rules in sports dictate that if you’re going to discard your first-round pick, especially in a league with as much turnover as the QMJHL, that you’d better be primed for a deep playoff run.

That logic checked out for the Rimouski Oceanic, who opened their Memorial Cup tournament on Saturday, but that same unwritten rule also insinuates that the asset you acquired with your first rounder should be there with you.

Unwritten rules state that you don’t cause a distraction to your team, to the point where you’re kicked off your team before a playoff run. Senators prospect Vincent Dunn hasn’t exactly followed along, and his career appears to be on the rocks because of it.

 

Don’t Want To Play The Last 10 Minutes

Dunn’s antics weren’t enough to stop the Senators from drafting the local product in the fifth round of the 2013 draft.

He had been suspended a couple of times, including once for racist remarks against Trey Lewis, but he was still a commodity in the junior ranks and, according to the Sens, worth the low risk. His antics almost identically mirrored those of Sean Avery’s when he played for Owen Sound and Kingston, in fact you could argue Dunn was worse.

There were times where it was effective, though.

Ottawa had a good look at their pick when he played nearby in Gatineau, where the Olympiques had acquired him from Val D’Or. In a first-round playoff series with a Cape Breton in 2014, the Eagles defence was shaking in their boots everytime Dunn and his checking unit hit the ice. Who wouldn’t love a point-per-game forward who heavily intimidated his opposition?  His team won in four straight, everything was going swimmingly.

But in the next round, a series full of diving, Dunn got sucked in to the undisciplined antics again.

Halifax’ Jonathan Drouin led the flop parade, understandable when he played north of 25 minutes a night and got double-teamed and slashed every time he touched the puck. Dunn was a close second.  Whether it was diving to draw a penalty or diving to hack at an opposition’s ankles, he dove at everything all series.

His time with Gatineau ended with an undisciplined cross-checking penalty, and he was benched for the last seven minutes after leaving the box.

Earlier in the year, Benoit Groulx told local radio [loosely translated and paraphrased], regarding Dunn, that when you take 10-minute misconducts late in the game, “that tells me you don’t want to play the last 10 minutes.” Groulx in turn didn’t give him the luxury of playing his last 10 minutes in Gatineau, and he was shipped off to Rimouski at the draft.

 

Still Worth The Risk?

Dunn should’ve been taking on fellow Senators prospect Tobias Lindberg in the Memorial Cup when Rimouski lost to Oshawa in their tournament opener, but he’s on the sidelines as an afterthought. It’s no secret that you become a less-than-desirable asset when you’re deemed an addition by subtraction, which is exactly the label Dunn has now.

He left Val D’Or and they went to the Memorial Cup.  He left Rimouski and they went to the Memorial Cup.

The obvious comparison, because they were so similar in junior, is Sean Avery, and he did play several years in the pros before finally wearing out his welcome.

It’s no secret that you become a less-than-desirable asset when you’re deemed an addition by subtraction

which is exactly the label Dunn has now

Stefan Matteau played seven games in New Jersey this year, after he was suspended for the playoffs by Blainville in 2013.  He was a first-rounder but his predicament was very similar to Dunn’s.

Dunn has talent and toughness. He can piece it together and make something of a pro career. Rimouski bench boss Serge Beausoleil has said Dunn just “needs to take a step back.” But in the same breath, he said the agitator didn’t maintain a certain standard, and they had to move on.

According to Dunn himself, the referees were out to get him. Three seasons in a row, Dunn was ejected in his first exhibition game. He annoyed one coach by taking too many lazy penalties and 10-minute misconducts, and he alienated another by being suspended all the time.

The recipe isn’t a good one, but he’s leaving a toxic QMJHL career behind.  Whether or not he can get it together is largely up to him.