Matt Hunwick requires surgery, out for the season

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 

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Hunwick’s injury is a sports hernia, which explains why he was able to play through for several weeks before the pain and further damage got to a point of diminishing returns for both Hunwick and the medical staff. Typically, a player who suffers an injury like this will try to play through the season, seeing as recovery time is about 4-6 weeks.

By undergoing surgery, Hunwick ends his first season of a two-year deal with the Maple Leafs. Believed by many to be an analytically sound player in the summer, Hunwick was thrust into a new role, seeing his minutes jolt from 15:49 a game with the Rangers to a career high 22:34 against the league’s toughest opponents.

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In that 60 game stretch, Hunwick scored two goals and added eight assists, and was a -17. Hunwick’s rate production is the lowest it’s been since 2012/13, and so are his underlying possession numbers; the team has a 6.2% lower shot attempts percentage with him on the ice than they do without him, which is the lowest relative possession percentage of his career. With just 43.8% of his shifts started in the offensive zone (career average 52.5% heading into this year), that’s not overly surprising, though.

Hunwick joins Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Stephane Robidas, and Nathan Horton on the list of players that are out for the season. Lupul is also recovering from Sports Hernia Surgery.

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With Hunwick out, Morgan Rielly will get a new partner in Martin Marincin. The two played together earlier in the season, but will get an opportunity to work together once again. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out; Marincin is a statistics darling with a habit of making glaring errors while many have been left wondering if Rielly’s down year is due to his play with Hunwick.

The pairing will play together starting tomorrow night, when the Leafs take on the New York Islanders.

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