FullTilt Flashback: We told you Matt Hunwick would impress
Way back on August 6th, I opined on the situation with John Moore’s contract situation. I used Derek Stepan’s prior season holdout as a benchmark. I highlighted that Stepan just as Moore had no bargaining leverage. The biggest difference, the Rangers had no one ready to step up to play #1 center on the team and were thin up the middle to begin the year.
John Moore on the other hand was at best, the Rangers 6th defenseman on the depth chart. Also a recent signing by Glen Sather could actually be a replacement for John Moore. The name – Matt Hunwick.
For the bargain basement price of $600,000 the Rangers found a gem in the 5’11”, 190 lbs NHL journeyman. At that price tag, not only was it shrewd but prudent with the Rangers difficult cap situation. From the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters to the bright lights on Broadway, he has paid off handsomely.
Here’s an excerpt from the August 6th article:
Both defenseman have prior experience in the NHL and could easily step in as the number 6 defensemen.
While there is no doubt John Moore has the upside factor, for this season, Hunwick could hold the fort.
How about on the defensive side? Let’s look at average time on ice first. The chart clearly shows that Hunwick has played more and has the experience advantage.
When it comes to possession (corsi), according to Extra Skater, Hunwick finished with a 55.9% for the Avs, while Moore came in at 50.4%.
I am not advocating for Hunwick over Moore. I believe John Moore has top 4 defenseman written all over him. Still, if he holds out the Rangers are safe. However, John Moore’s long-term future in NY could be in jeopardy.
Conor Allen is banging at the door down in Hartford. Dylan McIlrath could live up to his potential at any given moment. If that happens, John Moore being traded for a forward who can score at the deadline – well, that may not be so far fetched.
Matt Hunwick Today
Under difficult circumstances, Hunwick actually leads the Rangers back line in scoring. His other numbers are good too.
How about those fancy stats? His CF% is 53.9 through 10 games, although it’s fair to note that John Moore’s is higher at 56% through 9 games.
The Verdict Is In
There you have it, way back and August we gave you the indicators that a little journeyman defenseman banished to the AHL could actually play a key role if the Rangers got in trouble. It looks like we got this one right.
Now you have to wonder how easily John Moore would bump him out of the lineup. Or maybe the Rangers use Moore in a package to bring in an established center for the long run this season.
No matter how this turns out, Matt Hunwick has already paid dividends.