Travis Hamonic's early returns; NHL power rankings

Get used to this.

It wasn't a big surprise that Dylan Reese, who'd dropped back to Track 8 on the blueline's current triage station, was returned to Bridgeport yesterday. But that move was an echo of 20-year-old Travis Hamonic's impressive play since his call-up. Caution is the rule when gauging a defenseman's NHL introduction -- often they're sheltered, and often they play smart and simple first before a dose of confidence paradoxically gets them into trouble later for, in the parlance of our times, "trying to do too much." Think Luke Schenn his second year and Tyler Myers this past October.

But Hamonic's had an interesting variety of roles already, including a bit of both special teams. In the first Rangers game he started off paired with Reese before they shifted him to a pairing with Mark Eaton, as Reese saw less and less of the ice and Radek Martinek was made Reese's new crossing guard. In the second Rangers game and the Flyers game, Hamonic paired almost exclusively with Andrew MacDonald -- on Sunday seeing a healthy dose of the Scott Hartnell/Daniel Briere/Ville Leino line (Briere's game-winner came against Hillen/Wisniewski). [Those links are all to Behind The Net shift charts; unwieldy at first, you can actually drag the bars around and have some fun with them.]

For what it's worth, Hamonic is already credited with 12 hits in 5 games, a rate that would make him their most physical defenseman. While it's very early for Corsi-based conclusions, Hamonic was a plus in that department in all three of these losses. In other words, if you thought Hamonic has been one of the Isles' better defensemen, the underlying numbers think you're on to something. Which is scary, because of that whole "don't want to rush the kid" instinct. The Islanders are in the position of weighing big picture vs. immediate needs: So what if Hamonic plays too well to send back?

In the NHL, with the frequency of blueline trips to the trainer, decisions like that often make themselves. That's why I was sure both Reese and Hamonic would see time with the big club this year. Currently Mark Streit and Mike Mottau's injuries are long term enough to make room for Hamonic to stay in the NHL 8. And if he's here in that group, even when Milan Jurcina comes back Hamonic still probably has a spot based on performance alone.

By the time there are enough bodies to push him, will he have a strong enough resume to say, "Sorry, go push someone else"? Could be.

 

Media Rankings Survey

You know, when we started these, the idea was to track how impressions of the team changed from week to week. Changed. As in, "this week was not the same as last week." Alas, right now they're in an unchanging rut, and the polls reflect that, as all pile on.

Outlet Rank Last Week Their Commentary
CBSSports 30 30
New York is getting outhustled and outmuscled on a nightly basis and apparently coming undone as badly in the dressing room as it is on the ice.
Col. Dispatch 30 30
Jack Capuano has coached in the East Coast Hockey League, so he's familiar with these types of players.
ESPN 30 30 This was a tough one given the New Jersey Devils' futility, but after the Islanders were swept by the New York Rangers, we believed there was no other option than to keep them at the bottom spot in the rankings. At least they know their way around here.
Sportsnett (Brophy) 30 30 The Islanders have not scored a power play goal in 11 games going 0-for-36 in that span.
TSN
(Cullen)
30 30 One win in the last 18 games and their leading scorer is D James Wisniewski, who has 15 points, yet owns a league-worst minus-18 rating; the perils of playing 23:43 a night for the Isles.
Average 30 29.6 The liars are out, they have all the assets / Crawling for oil, they were bleeding for gold / Fruit tasting bitter, and lead in the air: / Butcher the womb and expect her to bear
[Sorry, one last Killing Joke reference
to commemorate a great night at Irving Plaza]

NHL Power Rankings

Updated through Sunday's games. Formula and calculations courtesy of our user ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles. Explanation of how he does it is in the original post. If you have any questions about it, leave them in comments and he'll likely answer.

    W L OTL Pts GP Win % % Pts Earned
PWR
1 Detroit 17 4 3 37 24 0.771 0.4084 2261
2 Dallas 16 8 1 33 25 0.660 0.3523 1901
3 Washington 18 8 2 38 28 0.679 0.3523 1884
4 Phoenix 13 7 6 32 26 0.615 0.3475 1875
5 Pittsburgh 18 8 2 38 28 0.679 0.3521 1872
6 Los Angeles 15 10 0 30 25 0.600 0.3336 1802
7 Nashville 12 8 5 29 25 0.580 0.3330 1800
8 Tampa Bay 15 9 3 33 27 0.611 0.3384 1793
9 Montreal 17 8 2 36 27 0.667 0.3368 1770
10 Philadelphia 17 7 4 38 28 0.679 0.3345 1762
11 Boston 14 8 3 31 25 0.620 0.3303 1734
12 St. Louis 13 9 4 30 26 0.577 0.3250 1734
13 Atlanta 14 10 3 31 27 0.574 0.3291 1730
14 Columbus 14 10 1 29 25 0.580 0.3160 1713
15 Vancouver 14 8 3 31 25 0.620 0.3176 1713
16 Colorado 13 10 3 29 26 0.558 0.3156 1670
17 Chicago 15 12 2 32 29 0.552 0.2982 1633
18 Anaheim 13 13 3 29 29 0.500 0.2908 1562
19 San Jose 12 9 4 28 25 0.560 0.2811 1539
20 Minnesota 11 11 4 26 26 0.500 0.2831 1519
21 NY Rangers 16 12 1 33 29 0.569 0.2619 1407
22 Carolina 11 12 3 25 26 0.481 0.2522 1340
23 Calgary 11 14 2 24 27 0.444 0.2441 1317
24 Edmonton 10 12 4 24 26 0.462 0.2379 1294
25 Ottawa 12 14 2 26 28 0.464 0.2421 1280
26 Toronto 9 12 4 22 25 0.440 0.2420 1266
27 Buffalo 11 13 3 25 27 0.463 0.2333 1257
28 Florida 11 14 0 22 25 0.440 0.2217 1214
29 New Jersey 8 16 2 18 26 0.346 0.1925 1008
30 NY Islanders 5 15 5 15 25 0.300 0.1620 866
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