The Pittsburgh Penguins signed free agent defenceman Matt Hunwick from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hunwick joins the Pittsburgh Penguins in the wake of other defenceman dismissals like Ron Hainsey, Mark Streit and Trevor Daley. With their dismissals, it’s going to be hard to fill each hole they left. The addition of Hunwick is just a starting point, but let’s take a look at what he can bring to this team.
Production Last Season
Last season Hunwick accumulated 19 points in 72 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now I watched a lot of Maple Leaf hockey being from Toronto and I know what he can bring. He’s a pass-first defenceman that has some flaws.
He is a veteran with great skating, but he struggles a bit offensively. He is quite good defensively, but he seems like a third pairing defenceman on any good team. The Penguins can’t expect to give him too much minutes, and with his age, injuries are a concern.
Where Will He Play?
Honestly, if Hunwick was a third pairing defenceman in Toronto, it concerns me to think about where he might fit in here.
Pittsburgh is better defensively than Toronto is. With Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Justin Schultz, Ian Cole and Brian Dumoulin already secured on the team, I can only see Hunwick having a third pairing spot. However, on top of these players, the Penguins are also probably looking to replace Daley, Streit and Hainsey who all left as free agents.
With these new additions, Hunwick may only end up being a depth defenceman for the Penguins. It all depends on how he plays of course, and if he upgrades his play a better role may be in line for him. Until then, he may be stuck with a third pair/depth defenceman role.