The Buffalo Sabres released an injury update today, and it wasn’t good news for veteran defenseman Matt Hunwick. The team listed his timetable as “indefinite” while also including Conor Sheary (week-to-week with an upper-body injury) and Sean Malone (six weeks with a knee injury) on the report. John Vogl of The Athletic reports that Zach Bogosian also did not skate with the team for the third consecutive day, though his name does not appear on the Sabres update.
Hunwick and Sheary came over to the Sabres earlier this offseason in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but were ticketed to play much different roles for the club. While Sheary is likely headed for a top-six role and powerplay time this season, Hunwick’s ice time on the blue line was anything but guaranteed. The veteran defenseman played just 42 games for the Penguins last season and never seemed to find his footing after signing a three-year contract in the 2017 offseason.
Now 33, there is reason to believe that Hunwick is nearing the end of his career as a full-time option in the NHL. Though the Sabres needed all the help they could get to rebuild a defense corps that was underwhelming last season, the emergence of first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin and other young options like Brendan Guhle and Lawrence Pilut could push Hunwick to the sidelines. An injury of this nature doesn’t help at all, and only will give an opportunity to other players to cement themselves as roster options for the Sabres this season.