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Travis Hamonic is the Islanders’ blue line rock

Aug 12, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

Travis Hamonic Getty Images

The Islanders’ captain might be defenseman Mark Streit, but he’s not the guy getting fans on Long Island out of their seats.

After two seasons, Travis Hamonic has turned into a physical force on the blue line for the Isles. The 2008 second-round pick made his debut with the Isles in the 2010-11 season after a junior career in Moose Jaw that saw him suit up for Team Canada in World Juniors.

Hamonic made his impact immediately piling up 103 penalty minutes in 62 games, but he wasn’t a full-fledged goon. In that time he added five goals and 21 assists. He followed that up last season by cutting down on the penalties and upping his responsibilities with 24 points and doing this with all sorts of injuries along the blue line.

While most folks will sneer at the plus-minus statistic (often with good reason) keep in mind he was a team best +6. By comparison, Streit was a -27 and Milan Jurcina managed to pull in a -39 in just 65 games. The Isles might want to up Hamonic’s average time-on-ice next season from the over 22 minutes per game he was seeing last year.

Hamonic’s stability is something much needed by the Islanders, especially when you’ve got other defensemen that don’t even want to join the team.

  1. RoseTintedVisor - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    My fave young D to watch. Yes, im a homer Isles fan.

  2. bcisleman - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Hammer is already a fine young defender who will only get better as he matures. He is paired with another fine young defender, Andrew MacDonald who never really gets the credit he deserves.

    Many have focused unfairly on Streit’s +/-. He came back from a year hiatus due to injury, was just named captain, had no effective #2 D, and played in front of some spotty goaltending. What also seldom gets noted is that he has the 2ns highest point per game % among Isle defenders in team history after Denis Potvin. Give him a quality #2 like Visnovsky and if Nabby stays healthy, that +/- will turn around.

    The Isles have an array of talented blueliners in the system. Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness are just about ready, Calvin De Haan, Scott Mayfield, Andrey Pedan and Brenden Kichton are a year away and Griffin Reinhart, Ville Pokka and Adam Pelech are 1-3 years away. This defense will get very good in a few years.

    • jl9830 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      De Haan is not a year away, he’s ready now. And Reinhart, Pokka, and Pelech are a little further than one year away; they’re easily 3-5 years away.

      • bcisleman - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

        Don’t see DeHaan being ready now…although he will likely see some playing time this season. Key for him is to play and stay healthy. He should see some time this year and maybe be a regular next year.

        Reinhart is one or at most two years away, Pelech two, Pokka three.

  3. theboysofdallas - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    The islanders have so many good young players now they need to play them and not the dinosaurs like Steve Staois and Jon Sim

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