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.