Not this time? Hamonic might play as soon as Game 1

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As much as teams lean on their top defensemen in the regular season, they become even more dependent on them in the playoffs, so how will the Islanders hold up going forward if they don’t have their minutes leader? Based on last year’s results, the answer is not good.

The Islanders were missing defenseman Travis Hamonic for the entire opening round of the 2015 playoffs and they ultimately lost that series to Washington in seven games. Once again Hamonic is hurt, but this time around he might be back in time to make a difference.

Hamonic (knee) seemed upbeat after practicing on Tuesday and while nothing has been decided yet, it’s possible that he might even be able to play in Game 1 of the Islanders’ series against Florida.

“You don’t want to rush guys back,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told NHL.com. “I want him to go through some agility drills and see how he feels. But he practiced today, so [Wednesday] if he has a good day, it’s something we’ll think about for Thursday.

Hamonic led the Islanders in terms of minutes per game in 2014-15 with 21:47 and that’s gone up to 23:49 minutes per contest this season. What makes that 2015-16 statistic more impressive is the fact that the Islanders use him rather sparingly with the man advantage. In fact, if you just look at even strength minutes per game, Hamonic finished fifth in the NHL. So losing him puts considerable strain of the remainder of the Islanders’ defensive core.

If you’re interested in getting a sense of the many injuries playoff teams are dealing with, click here.