Last season’s hotly debated bottom pairing defenseman, Matt Hunwick, is probably not returning to the Maple Leafs. This is the information from Craig Custance of The Athletic:
Michigan native Matt Hunwick has narrowed options down to two teams. Maple Leafs out at this point.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) July 1, 2017
Hunwick steadily saw his performance rise over the course of the year, establishing himself as a real NHL defenseman in a bottom pairing role. However, an upgrade is still certainly not a bad idea. With the rumoured Maple Leafs interest in Ron Hainsey, the rumours are certainly starting to make connections. They were already compared in Jeff Veillette’s report on that Hainsey interest.
In terms of Goals Above Replacement, Hunwick had a respectable 2.5 GAR, which means he’s above what has been defined as a replacement level player. But nothing to awe at, as those numbers would put him in 6 D territory. Hainsey, by comparison, is at 5.6, which is somewhere around a 4 D.