By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh
Happy 35th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Defenseman Matt Hunwick!
Matt Hunwick was born on May 21st, 1985, in Warren, Michigan. He began playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program (U-17, NAHL & U-18) as a 16-year-old defenseman from 2001-2003 and was impressive in the 91 games he played, racking up 13-23-36 numbers. Once Hunwick turned 18 years old, he joined Michigan (CCHA) and posted 1-14-15 numbers in 41 games, catching the attention of several NHL teams before entering the draft. The 5’11, 200-pound defenseman would go on to be drafted by the Boston Bruins in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted, Hunwick continued to play for Michigan (CCHA) from 2003-2007, appearing in 122 games and producing 23-59-82 numbers. The Bruins saw what the versatile defenseman could bring to the team and assigned him to the American Hockey League to develop with the Providence Bruins (AHL) for the 2007-2008 season. Hunwick had a stellar performance in Providence, producing 23 points with a +16 rating in 55 games played before getting the call-up to play in his first National Hockey League action with the Bruins, where he played in his first 13 NHL contests.
The following season, Hunwick played just three games with Providence (AHL) before cementing his position in the Bruins lineup, playing in 55 games and producing 6-21-27 numbers with a +15 rating in his first full NHL campaign.
Following a successful rookie campaign, Hunwick struggled to find his magic in 2008-2009 with the Bruins, producing just 14 points with a -16 rating in 76 games played. The next season, Hunwicks’ journey with the Bruins would last only 22 more games before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Colby Cohen. The defenseman finished the year suiting up in 51 games for Colorado, collecting ten assists. Although he struggled to find his offensive touch that was apparent in his rookie year, Colorado took the chance and inked a deal with the defenseman for the next few years.
From 2011-2013, Hunwick was used as a depth piece, and throughout those two seasons played in 76 games and collected 12 points. In 2013-2014, the defenseman would appear in just one game that season with Colorado before being sent down to play for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) for the remainder of the year. After his contract with Colorado expired, Hunwick entered free-agency and was quickly signed by the New York Rangers on a one-year deal. He was a solid defenseman for New York, posting 11 points with a +17 rating in 55 games played but was set to hit free-agency again as New York decided not to renew his contract in 2015.
Once again, Hunwick had no problem finding a job once the market opened, inking a two-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Throughout the next two seasons, Hunwick suited up for 115 games and produced 29 points during that time but could not reach an agreement for a contract extension forcing the defenseman to hit the free-agent market again in 2017. On July 1st, the NHL teams came knocking on his door, and Hunwick immediately signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hunwick split his ice-time throughout the 2017-2018 season as a depth-player, suiting up for 42 games and producing ten points. On June 27th, though, Hunwick was packaged up with Conor Sheary and was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The defenseman would go on to play just 14 games with Buffalo in 2018-2019 before officially announcing his retirement from the NHL after suffering a severe neck injury.
Throughout his 12-year career in the NHL, Hunwick suited up for 535 games and finished with 25-94-119 numbers. Now, Hunwick works with the University of Michigan hockey team as a volunteer assistant coach. Happy birthday, Matt Hunwick!