Matt Hunwick: What can the Rangers expect?

Matt Hunwick in preseason action  (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Hunwick in preseason action (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Dan Boyle has a broken hand and will miss the next four to six weeks. The New York Rangers have recalled Mike Kostka to serve as the seventh defenseman while Matt Hunwick will make his New York Rangers début tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It’s unclear at this point who or where Matt Hunwick will play or on which side. As a lefty, he’d certainly rather play the left but like Alain Vigneault said in Friday’s post practice press conference. “In this league you have to be able to play multiple positions” It’s a pretty safe bet he’ll be on the right side somewhere.

The book on Matt Hunwick. What the Rangers can Expect.

Matt Hunwick is a somewhat undersized defenseman who handles the puck well but is not really an offensive defenseman. In 292 National Hockey League games with the Bruins and the Avalanche, Hunwick has managed sixty-seven points. That’s 0.23 points per game.

He plays a safe, well-rounded game but could improve defensively. In eight seasons as a regular in the National Hockey league, he’s a combined minus sixteen. It’ll be hard to see Matt Hunwick anywhere but on the bottom pair.

The problem with inserting Matt Hunwick to replace Dan Boyle is his handedness.
Kevin Klein (NYR)

Kevin Klein (NYR)

Matt Hunwick is a lefty and Boyle played the right side. Inserting Matt Hunwick would create four left-handed defenseman on the back-end. As Ranger fans can all remember this was a weakness of the New York Rangers for years under John Tortorella. When Michael Del Zaster Zotto was (Finally) traded to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Klein. It added that elusive right/left balance on the blue line.

In defense of Matt Hunwick, he’s a very mobile defenseman and moves the puck well. He could possibly fit into Alain Vigneault’s strategy very well. He certainly outplayed Mike Kostka in training camp and the preseason games they played. The only problem is that Alain Vigneault isn’t as aggressive with his defenseman as the former Tortarella.

Matt Hunwick will have to play a good possession game at the point helping to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Much like Anton Stralman did for the team for years.

The Rangers need a righty that can play a solid offensive game at even strength or help out on the power play. Not that Mike Kostka is that guy. Although he’s a right-handed defenseman that could slide into the same spot next to Marc Staal. If Matt Hunwick is thrust into a top four spot, he’d have to play on the right side and that makes defensive zone coverage tougher on a defenseman.

I began watching the Rangers in 1990 when I was 9 years old. Soon after a lifelong friend of... More about Bob-O

Mentioned in this article:

More About: