March 08 2016 02:15PM
Matt Hunwick is kind of like the NHL-level equivalent of a rent-a-player. He plays a lot, but mostly because he's willing to and physically can, not because he's exceptionally talented. Today, it was announced Hunwick was shut down for the rest of the season with a sports hernia injury. Frankly, Toronto might be better off without him.
There's a lot of things to like about Hunwick- he's an assistant captain, praised as a good leader by his teammates, and brings a veteran presence to a young team. But Hunwick might be the worst regular player on the team, and with the Leafs currently being at the bottom of the NHL standings, he's probably in consideration for the bottom few percentage points of NHL talent in the league. And yet, he's not just a regular - he's picked up the second most ice time on the team at 5v5 this year, less than only Morgan Rielly, his most common defensive partner.
With Hunwick out of the lineup, the Leafs lose a TOI monster. But looking at how the team performs without Hunwick, that might not be the worst thing for a team on a five-game slide. Of course, wins at this point don't matter much as the Leafs are draft lottery-bound, but from a purely statistical standpoint, Hunwick's absence makes the Leafs a far better hockey team.
March 08 2016 01:00PM
With the Leafs now winding down the last month of their season, fans of the team are mainly looking at two things day-to-day from here on: Their loss column as they tank for a top four pick, and the Pittsburgh Penguins' place in the standings.
As it stands, the Penguins hold down the first wildcard slot, just ahead of Detroit, and they're three points in the clear of the Flyers who are on the outside trying to squeak in.
As we're mostly all aware, the Leafs will hold Pittsburgh's first round selection this summer if the Pens can hold on over the next few weeks, and if that happens, Toronto would fork over the second-round pick from the Winnik deal. This would essentially clue up the Kessel trade.
But there are a couple other ways this could play out, and while most Leafs fans would look upon the Penguins dropping out of the playoff picture this year as some kind of disaster, that isn't really the case.
March 08 2016 11:54AM
The "out for the year" club just gained another member this year. The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that they'll be shutting down Matt Hunwick for the remainder of the season, so he can undergo surgery
March 08 2016 10:23AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their shuffle of mysteriously (but probably legitimately) injured players, taking minute-eating defenceman Matt Hunwick out of the roster and replacing him with Swdish rookie Viktor Loov.
March 08 2016 09:17AM
Good young performances, close game, great moments... annnd a loss. And the beat goes on...