Pittsburgh Penguins: Evaluating the Matt Hunwick Signing

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19: Matt Hunwick
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19: Matt Hunwick /

Defenseman Matt Hunwick will bring a slightly new look to the Pittsburgh Penguins defense next season

As expected on the first day of free agency, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost a few players that were part of the success the last two years.  On defense in particular, Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey have found new homes.  To fill some of that void, GM Jim Rutherford signed defenseman Matt Hunwick to a three year deal.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Fitting in on the third pairing

Hunwick played the last two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and appeared in 132 regular season games and 6 playoff games.  In all of those games, he has 30 points total.

Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Justin Schultz and Brian Dumoulin are the obvious top four defense pairings for the Pens.  Ian Cole will be on the third pairing, but who will be his teammate?  Adding Hunwick was a pure depth move for the Pens since there were not a lot of great options in-house.  Chad Wuhwedel will likely also see some time on the third pairing with Cole.

Rating the signing

The signing of Hunwick is not a great move but not a terrible one either.  The Penguins needed to add depth to a depleted defense.  The price and term of his contract isn’t bad.  However at age 32, Hunwick is on the other side of his prime.  The signing also adds another lefty shot to a blue line that is already loaded with them.

The key for the Pens will be to keep Hunwick on the third line and limit his minutes.  If he is expected to play top 4 minutes, they could find themselves in trouble.  Let’s hope the Pens don’t find themselves with a rash of injuries like this past season.  I give this signing a C for it’s overall “meh” feeling.