Hunwick was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but signed a two-year, $3.2-million extension on Friday to stay with the Avalanche.
Hunwick got off to a promising start with the Bruins, posting 6-21-27 totals in 53 games in his first full season in 2008-09. But his season ended early when he had to have his spleen removed after being injured in the opening game of the playoffs.
Despite playing 23 more games the following year, Hunwick managed just 14 points and went from a plus-15 to a minus-16. In November 2010, he was traded to Colorado for defense prospect Colby Cohen, a Boston University product who has spent the past two seasons in Providence.
That move was made to clear cap space for the return of Marc Savard, and ironically it would be Hunwick who delivered the hit on Savard the following January that gave the Bruins center his most recent concussion. Savard, who suffered an even more serious concussion the previous season on a vicious head shot by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke, remains sidelined with post-concussion symptoms and is not expected to play again.
Hunwick, who had his season ended early with a concussion of his own in April, was actually a healthy scratch for much of the past season in Colorado. He played in just 33 games, posting 3-3-6 totals with a minus-3 rating. But the Avs saw enough of the 27-year-old blueliner to keep him in the fold for the next two years.
Colorado has been busy, as Hunwick’s signing follows extensions given to tough guy Cody McLeod (3 years, $3.5 million) and forward David Jones (4 years, $16 million) this week. Jones has topped 20 goals in each of the last two years, including a career-high 27 in 2010-11, and may have drawn some interest from the Bruins, among other teams, as one of the few solid scorers on the unrestricted free agent market had he not come to terms with the Avalanche.
Even with those moves, Colorado still has just 12 players under contract for the upcoming season. Among the restricted free agents the Avalanche still have to sign this summer are young star Matt Duchene, the third overall pick in 2009, trade deadline pickups Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn, forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Peter Mueller, as well as defensemen Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson.