The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded forward Conor Sheary and defenceman Matt Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a conditional 4th round draft pick in 2019. The exact details of the conditions of the pick have not yet been released.
Sheary and Hunwick had been rumoured to be on the block ever since Pittsburgh’s season ended and a trade finally happened. Pittsburgh was going to be a bit low on cap space heading into free agency but this opens up some a bit as Sheary was making $3 million per season AAV and Hunwick was making $2.25 million AAV.
Pending trade call Sheary and Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres for a pick.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 27, 2018
To BUF: Sheary, Hunwick
To PIT: 2019 conditional 4th that can become a 3rd
No salary retained
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 27, 2018
Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick Traded to Buffalo
A Look At Conor Sheary
Sheary played his first three seasons in the league with Pittsburgh and was a big part of the Penguins 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup runs. He had four goals and 10 points in 23 playoff games in 2016, one of them being the Game 2 winner against the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final. He came up to the Penguins that year along with Bryan Rust and it was lights out after that.
The following season, 2016-17, Sheary had the best season of his career. Playing mainly on Crosby’s wing, he had 23 goals and 53 points in 61 games. He was really snakebitten in the playoffs though as he had just two goals that run.
It was a struggle for Sheary this season though, despite his 18 goals. He’s been a streaky player throughout his three years in the league and this year, he played 44 games from November 1st to March 1st and had just 16 points. Just seven of those 16 points were goals throughout that period.
His new team is likely banking on Sheary not having those kinds of struggles again. He’ll be a solid depth player that can play on any line but is probably best suited for a second or third line role. His $3 million cap hit for two more seasons is reasonable as they’ll try to get the most out of him. For Pittsburgh, they now have more space to sign some of their restricted free agents and maybe go after a UFA on July 1st.
In Hunwick, the Sabres get a good skating defenseman that can log lots of minutes and block shots. Hunwick is a veteran presence that is perfect as a depth defenseman. He scored four goals and six assists for 10 points in 42 games last season. His possession numbers are 48.7 percent Corsi and a -4.4 relative Corsi.
In 2016-17, with the Toronto Maple Leafs he scored one goal and 18 assists for 19 points. He also added 18 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 49.1 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -2.1. Over his 11-year NHL career, Hunwick has played for the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins. He has put up 25 goals and 92 assists for 117 career points in 521 career games. He was originally drafted in the 7th round, 224th overall of the 2004 NHL draft by the Boston Bruins.
Matt Hunwick played a key role in the 2017 Toronto Maple Leafs stretch run and playoff series by killing the majority of the penalties the team took. Playing over two and a half minutes a night last season on the penalty kill, he was second on the Leafs among NHL regular defenseman, behind linemate Roman Polak. Things did not go quite as well in Pittsburgh where he often found himself a healthy scratch. He did not even play in any of the Penguins playoff games.