Matt Hunwick

Matt Hunwick
Hunwick with the Penguins in 2017
Born (1985-05-21) May 21, 1985
Warren, Michigan, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Buffalo Sabres
Boston Bruins
Colorado Avalanche
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Pittsburgh Penguins
National team  United States
NHL Draft 224th overall, 2004
Boston Bruins
Playing career 2007present

Matthew John Hunwick (born May 21, 1985) is an American professional ice hockey defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has previously played for the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hunwick was born in Warren, Michigan, but grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Matt is the older brother of Shawn Hunwick.

Playing career

Hunwick first played amateur junior in the Detroit-based Honeybaked Hockey Program, before he was selected to the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After two seasons with the USDP, and showing potential as a two-way puck-moving defenseman he was recruited to play collegiate hockey with the University of Michigan in the CCHA.[1]

In his freshman season of 2003–04, Hunwick finished third among team defenseman in scoring with 15 points in 41 games and was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team as the Wolverines progressed to the North-East regional finals.[2] Hunwick was then selected at the conclusion of the season by the Boston Bruins, in the seventh round, 224th overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

As a sophomore in the 2004–05 season he scored his first career hat-trick, in an 8–3 victory over Bowling Green State on December 10, and was honored as the NCAA National Offensive Player of the Week.[3] Hunwick increased his points total to 25 in 40 games with the Wolverines to be named to the CCHA Second All-Star Team. Hunwick received the same Second All-Star accolade while serving as an alternate captain in 2005–06, when he recorded a personal-best 11 goals and 30 points in 41 games to finish second among Wolverines D-men.[4]

Returning as a senior to the Michigan Wolverines in the 2006–07 season, Hunwick took over as team captain.[5] He was a part of a formidable blueline partnership alongside Jack Johnson, while recording a career-high 21 assists and posting 27 points in 41 games. Awarded the Wolverines’ Vic Heyliger Trophy as the team’s most outstanding defenseman for a third consecutive season, Hunwick was named to the CCHA First All-Star Team, West Second All-American Team and given the honor as the CCHA's best defensive defenseman.[6]


Boston Bruins

Following completion of his collegiate career, Hunwick was then signed by the Boston Bruins to a two-year entry-level contract on June 26, 2007.[7] Attending his first Bruins training camp, Hunwick was among the final cuts and assigned to American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins, to begin the 2007–08 season.[8] After spending a month with Providence, Hunwick was recalled by Boston and played his first NHL regular season game in a 2–1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on November 10, 2007. In his third recall to the Bruins, Hunwick recorded his first NHL point, an assist in a 2–1 defeat of the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 9.[9] He finished his first professional season primarily with Providence, scoring 23 points in 55 games while totaling 13 games in the NHL from four separate recalls.

In the following 2008–09 season, Hunwick was again initially reassigned to the AHL but after only two games was recalled and remained with the Bruins for the majority of the campaign. He scored his first career goal against Vesa Toskala in a 3–2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 17, 2008.[10] His goal sparked a six-game scoring streak which tied Hall of Fame defenseman, Ray Bourque, as a club record for rookie defenseman. On January 10, 2009, in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Hunwick got into his first NHL fight, one-punching to knock down Justin Williams.[11] Establishing a puck-moving role among the Bruins defense corps, Hunwick amassed a career-high 21 assists and 27 points in 53 regular season games. Hunwick made his post-season debut with the Bruins in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens on April 16, 2009. However, on April 18, at a team meeting before game two against the Canadiens, Hunwick complained of abdominal pain. After consultation with the team doctor, it was determined that he needed medical treatment and Hunwick was taken to the hospital via ambulance. He underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured spleen, and was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs.[12]

Hunwick opted out of salary arbitration and re-signed to a two-year contract with the Bruins on July 20, 2009.[13] Recovered from his splenectomy, Hunwick played his first full NHL season in 2009–10, playing in a career high 76 games. Despite matching his six goals from the previous year, Hunwick regressed offensively and struggled to recapture his form throughout the year to be occasionally relegated as a reserve defenseman. He recorded an assist as his first career post-season point in game one of a series quarterfinals victory against the Buffalo Sabres.[14] Succumbing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, Hunwick finished to appear in all 13 playoff games for 6 assists.

Colorado Avalanche

In the 2010–11 season, with the Bruins in need to reduce roster salary, Hunwick was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Colby Cohen on November 29, 2010.[15] On November 30, 2010, Hunwick made his debut for the Avalanche in a 3–2 overtime defeat.[16] Hunwick's former team would go on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

On June 7, 2012 the Colorado Avalanche announced that they had re-signed Hunwick, to a two-year deal worth $3.2 million.[17] In the final year of his contract and at the beginning of the 2013–14 season, Hunwick was relegated as a reserve defenseman and was placed on waivers by the Avalanche. Upon clearing, he was reassigned to the AHL for the first time since 2008 with affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters on October 12, 2013.[18]

New York Rangers

On July 1, 2014, Hunwick ended his four-year tenure with the Avalanche by signing as a free agent to a one-year contract with the New York Rangers.[19] In the 2014–15 season, Hunwick returned to the NHL as the Rangers depth defenseman. He appeared in 55 games for 11 points and played 6 games in the post-season for the first time since 2010.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Hunwick was not re-signed by the Rangers and on July 1, 2015, he signed a two-year deal worth $2.4 million with the Toronto Maple Leafs.[20] Head coach Mike Babcock played a big role in the signing. Babcock, impressed with Hunwick's work ethic upon seeing him at a gym in 2013, made a case for acquiring him.[21]

Pittsburgh Penguins

In concluding a successful two-year tenure with the Maple Leafs, Hunwick left as a free agent and signed a three-year $6.75 million contract with two time reigning champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on July 1, 2017.[22]

Buffalo Sabres

On June 27, 2018, Hunwick, along with teammate Conor Sheary, were traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. In doing so, the Penguins cleared over $5 million in salary cap space.[23]

Playing statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2001–02U.S. National Development TeamUSDP43551036
2002–03U.S. National Development TeamUSDP488182663
2003–04University of MichiganCCHA411141562
2004–05University of MichiganCCHA406192560
2005–06University of MichiganCCHA4111193070
2006–07University of MichiganCCHA416212764
2007–08Providence BruinsAHL552212340100558
2007–08Boston BruinsNHL130114
2008–09Providence BruinsAHL30330
2008–09Boston BruinsNHL53621273110000
2009–10Boston BruinsNHL76681432130662
2010–11Boston BruinsNHL221239
2010–11Colorado AvalancheNHL510101016
2011–12Colorado AvalancheNHL333368
2012–13Colorado AvalancheNHL4306616
2013–14Lake Erie MonstersAHL5210213133
2013–14Colorado AvalancheNHL10000
2014–15New York RangersNHL5529111660000
2015–16 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 60 2 8 10 32
2016–17Toronto Maple LeafsNHL72118191860112
2017–18 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 42 4 6 10 21
NHL totals 521 25 92 117 203 26 0 7 7 4
Medal record
Representing the  United States
World Championships
2013 Sweden/Finland
World Junior Championships
2004 Helsinki


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2003 United States WJC18 4th 6 0 3 3 6
2004 United States WJC 6 0 0 0 0
2005 United States WJC 4th 7 0 4 4 0
2013 United States WC 10 2 2 4 2
Junior totals 19 0 7 7 6
Senior totals 10 2 2 4 2

Awards and honors

Award Year
All-CCHA Rookie Team 2003–04 [2]
All-CCHA Second Team 2004–05, 2005–06 [24]
CCHA All-Tournament Team 2006 [25]
All-CCHA First Team 2006–07 [24]
All-CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman 2006–07 [26]
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 2006–07
IIHF World Championships Bronze Medal 2013


  1. "Michigan inks five recruits in early signing period". Michigan Wolverines. 2002-11-19. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  2. 1 2 "Hensick, Hunwick selected for CCHA All-Rookie Team". Michigan Wolverines. 2004-03-04. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  3. "Hunwick tabbed National Offensive player of the week". University of Michigan. 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  4. "Hensick, Hunwick added as 2005–06 Alternate Captains". Michigan Wolverines. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  5. "Ebbett voted team MVP, Hunwick takes Captain role". University of Michigan. 2006-04-16. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  6. "Hunwick, Johnson, Cook earn individual CCHA Awards". American Hockey Coaches Association. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  7. "Boston Bruins agree to terms with Matt Hunwick". Boston Bruins. 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  8. "Boston Bruins announce roster moves". Boston Bruins. 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  9. "Bruins grind out 2–1 decision over Leafs". Yahoo! Sports. 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  10. "Ryder give Bruins a lift in win vs. Leafs". CBS Sports. 2008-11-17. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15.
  11. "New faces. New feats. Same results". Boston Bruins. 2009-01-10. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  12. "Bruins Hunwick has surgery for ruptured spleen". National Hockey League. 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  13. "B's re-sign defenseman Matt Hunwick". Boston Bruins. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  14. "Miller's 38 saves help Sabres edge Bruins in opener". National Hockey League. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  15. "B's deal Matt Hunwick for Colby Cohen". ESPN. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  16. "Atlanta 3, Colorado 2 OT". USA Today. 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  17. "Avalanche Signs Hunwick". Colorado Avalanche. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  18. "Matt Hunwick placed on waivers". Denver Post. 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  19. "Rangers agree to terms with Matt Hunwick". New York Rangers. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  20. "Maple Leafs sign Parenteau, Arcobello and Hunwick". Toronto Maple Leafs. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  21. "The Leaf: Blueprint Episode 2". YouTube. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  22. "Matt Hunwick signs three-year contract with Penguins". National Hockey League. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  23. "Penguins trade Sheary, Hunwick to Sabres for draft pick". June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  24. 1 2 "All-CCHA Teams". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  25. "2012–13 CCHA Media Guide". Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  26. "CCHA places seven players on RBK West All-American Team". 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Andy Greene
CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman
Succeeded by
Alec Martinez
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