Matt Hunwick will be staying in the lineup for the Rangers in Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hunwick entered the lineup when it became clear that Kevin Klein would not be ready. Klein told Jim Cerny of Blue Shirts United about his thought process on returning,“I want to be 100 percent so that they (the Rangers) can rely on me back there.” Klein’s uncertain status means that Hunwick will stand in as the teams 6th defensemen for the time being.
So far Hunwick has been solid in both playoff games, and he is proving that he is capable of holding the fort. In my opinion he has earned a new contract.
So Far in the Playoffs
Through two playoff games Matt Hunwick has played 23:33, has an even plus minus, and one shot on goal. Hunwick showed off his versatility in game two. He had some power-play time (1:36), when Keith Yandle went to the Rangers dressing room, and his superb skating ability helped the Rangers draw two penalties.
Hunwick told Jim Cerny of Blueshirts United about stepping in and playing, “I’m pretty comfortable in the role I am in. I think I take great pride in staying ready, having good preparation. Unfortunately for us we’ve had a few injuries along the way, and after the trade deadline it didn’t look like I’d play too much–maybe a game here or there just to stay fresh–but unfortunately with the injury to Kevin it’s given me the opportunity to play a little bit more. I’m just trying to take advantage of it and give the team the best chance to win.”
We are now hearing that Hunwick may get some more time on the power play in game 3 as he was seen on the special teams unit in practice on Monday.
New PP units: McD, Hunwick, Nash, Hayes, Zucc… Boyle, Step, Kreider, St Louis, Brassard #NYR
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) April 20, 2015
Hunwick’s play isn’t news to the Rangers. Hunwick put together a respectable regular season prior to the playoffs.
Hunwick’s Great Regular Season
Hunwick played 55 games this season, had recorded 11 points, and was a +17. Not only did Hunwick play, he averaged in 15:49 per game. Our own Jake Gittler wrote about Matt Hunwick’s performance back in November, Gittler did a great job of pointing out how Hunwick was helping the Rangers on several different levels.
Alain Vigneault told Andrew Gross of North Jersey.com back in December about Hunwick earning his keep, “Depending on how he performs, he can stay in there on a regular basis. Right now, he’s playing well. Right now, he deserves to be in our top six.”
To have a season like the Rangers did, you need pleasant surprises and Hunwick was certainly one of them.
This is one of my favorite plays by Hunwick this season.
According to Spotrac.com Hunwick is making $600,000 on a one year deal, he is a UFA at the end of the year and the Rangers don’t have much money available; but it doesn’t make sense to let such a cost efficient asset leave for nothing.