Back in November, the Colorado Avalanche helped the Boston Bruins out of their salary cap hell by trading for mobile defenseman Matt Hunwick. Hunwick’s price tag was getting to be a bit much for the Bruins who had to make room for Marc Savard’s return to the lineup. Hunwick’s arrival in Denver was seen to be a positive one in a desperate moment with injuries littering their blue line corps.
Now that the injuries are healing and Hunwick is seeing more ice time, the warts on his game are showing and Avalanche fans are taking notice. Through 18 games with Colorado, Hunwick has no goals and two assists and is a -7. On a team that scores as often as the Avs do and how much they give up goal-wise, both his offensive and defensive are frustrating and people want to see a change made in favor of Jonas Holos. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post speaks for the people.
I and other media members have asked Sacco why he prefers to scratch Holos. He’s said, in essence, he thought he was looking tired or just not playing all that well. I thought he was playing very well myself. But what do I know? And what do you know?
Hunwick, Sacco said just the other day, has been playing better of late, and doing a lot of good things. I think a few of you beg to differ.
Oh yeah, one other thing: the only game Holos has played in of late, the other night against Buffalo, was the only game the Avs have won in the past 10 days.
The last part may be just coincidental as the Avs have been poor with stopping opposing offenses both on defense and in goal. The key point here, however, may be that the Avs need any change at all to get their consistency back. Hunwick is the team pariah right now but think of where they’d be without Kevin Shattenkirk emerging along with John-Michael Liles hot start to his season.
As for Holos being the answer, through 15 games this season he’s got no goals, three assists and a +4 rating. His numbers are better than Hunwick’s so the case can be made he should get more of a chance, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision in the long run.
Things could be worse for the Avs, but for now as long as the team is giving away goals like candy, someone’s going to hear it and for now it’s Hunwick and coach Joe Sacco. You can’t help but feel like the Bruins are feeling like they got away with one by adding to their team by subtracting Hunwick.