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Sabres defender Matt Hunwick to miss 2019-20 season

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Neck injury may be end to journeyman’s career.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have announced that defender Matt Hunwick is not expected to play in the 2019-20 season.

General manager Jason Botterill indicated that continued medical evaluations have found Hunwick unable to perform due to a neck condition.

The journeyman blueliner came to Buffalo after a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played 14 games for the Sabres in the 2018-19 season, putting two assists on the stat sheet. He played two games for the Rochester Americans, in which he was a plus-2.

It seems likely that Hunwick has played his final NHL game. In his career, he played 535 games, scoring 25 goals and adding 94 assists. His biggest impact came as a member of the Boston Bruins, where he had his best season in 2009-10. After proving himself in Colorado, Hunwick was invited to join Team USA for the 2013 World Championships.

The announcement opens up a bit of the logjam the Sabres had at defense, and removes $2.25 million from the salary cap, giving the team a little more breathing room heading into the final weeks of the offseason.

It’s unfortunate to see his career end this way. Hopefully, Hunwick can continue to progress in his recovery from this devastating injury.