2011 Cap Hit:$1,550,000
It was a strange year for Matt Hunwick as he spent the first half of the season as the anonymous man of the defense, never being seen or heard from except for those who attended practice and reported he was still in fact alive, kicking, and definitely working hard. When injuries and disappointing play started to plague the occasionally lethargic Avalanche defense, Hunwick was finally called upon and didn't really turn back. Looking almost nothing like the league-worst defenseman of the previous season, Hunwick was playing sound defense and even attempting to initiate on offense. It was quite a sight to see this recently-terrible hockey player experiencing the fruits of constant effort and really symbolizing the Avalanche as a whole as the season wore on. While he faded towards the end, Hunwick proved himself the ultimate professional this season and should prove to be a valuable addition in the off-season to whichever team takes a chance on him.
AJ's Take: Since I'm writing this after having already read over what Cole and Cheryl have to say below and knowing I have nothing significant to add, I'll just remind everyone that MATT HUNWICK DID THIS. Whatever the future holds, Hunny, I wish you well. You'll always be better than Shawn ;)
Cole's Take: After an abysmal 2011 season, Hunwick really turned around his game this year. Surprisingly, Hunwick seemed like a calming influence on the blue line down the stretch and his work ethic was absolutely infectious. My gut says he wont be back, because Guance, Wilson, Elliott, Barrie and Siemens is just too much coming through the pipeline.... but I really will miss Hunwick. Great attitude, hard worker and all around good guy, who laid it all out on the ice every night. I only hope he can find another team to play for next year. Thanks for the good times Hunny! (and for the bad ones, there were plenty of those too after all) B+
Cheryl's Take: I'm sure there's already been a lot of talk about Hunwick's skill and level of play already, so I'm going to focus on an area in which no one can reasonably deny he gets an A: professionalism. As you all know, I hit practices as often as I can. Never once have I seen Matt Hunwick doing anything but working hard, supporting his teammates and maintaining a positive disposition. Even when he saw rookies getting ice time while he was still a healthy scratch, Hunwick did not change the way he approached the game. When he was finally called upon for an extended amount of time, he showed the reason why the Avalanche traded for him in the first place. Given that performance and the endless praise he gets from coaches, teammates and management about his professionalism and dedication, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he's re-signed.
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