Though plus-minus has been discredited as a meaningful stat in recent years — and we’ll just avoid this part of the conversation entirely, thanks — some folks still pay attention to it.
Why? Well, it does remain one of the sortable metrics on NHL.com’s player stats page and, should you go there and sift through, you’ll see that Islanders d-man Travis Hamonic ranks dead last, with a minus-17 rating through 24 games played.
“Do I know it’s there? Sure,” Hamonic said of this plus-minus, per Newsday. “Sometimes things are your fault, but I can’t change it. Fresh slate, play better. It’s a tough question to answer.
“I can’t go online and remove it. You’re stupid if you don’t see it, but like any stat, there’s a lot that goes into it.”
We’ve seen players allude to their ugly ratings before. When Jason Spezza hit minus-17 during the ’13-14 campaign, he admitted it was “frustrating.” That same season, Chicago’s Patrick Kane got off to a slow start with a minus-9 rating, and acknowledged it was “a number that obviously didn’t look good.”
Hamonic has struggled at times this year, but has also been a victim of circumstance. The Isles in general have been lousy, sitting 19th in shots per game (29.3) while surrendering the third-most in the NHL (32.4). Hamonic’s regular d-man partner Nick Leddy hasn’t played especially well either — he had an awful turnover against the Jackets on Saturday, which ended up in the back of the Isles net — and, as a result, the pair has had a tough time.
Advanced metrics confirm as much. Both Leddy and Hamonic are hovering around 43 percent CF for the season. Per Newsday, that ranks both among the bottom 25 players in the league.
If there’s a silver lining for Hamonic, it’s that he may not have the NHL’s worst plus-minus for long. Hot on his heels are a pair of skaters at minus-16: Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter, and Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.