Now I know there are a lot of young defenders
Erik Johnson out there that have big expectations but have yet to live up to them. Yet Travis Hamonic was not one of those defenders, he came up due to a bewildered blue line, and shined. Sure he was committing a mistake or two a game, but he would either fixed it right away or made it up sooner rather than later, and in the preseason game against the Devils, he looked GREAT!
Last season was great for Hamonic, his organization thought he was still a year or two away from making the NHL, but when he was called up, he turned heads. Ending up the season with 62 GP 21 A 26 P and a +4. As an Islander fan, if i see somebody play more than five games and come away with a +rating, I'm impressed, when I know that he did that playing top pair minutes against top line assignments, I'm in utter awe. With a full season (please injury gods leave him be!), and second pair assignments, Hammer's numbers should only increase...a lot. This makes me giddy, but reading an article about the Preseason Game Against the Devils made me giddier.
“Hammer made a great play,” Moulson said. “I think he saw me the whole time. I saw him look at me so I just went to the net. He pretty much put it off my stick and in, so I’ll take those any time I can.”
I like reading that. Every one of us should like reading that. That, my fellow isles fans, is poise and patience as well as chemistry with his forwards. That's what I look for in my defenseman, that's what the Islanders' found in Travis Hamonic.
Sadly there is no article on his defensive play in his preseason game against the Devils (if you find one, let me know!), but from memory and stats, he had a solid 20:14 TOI, while being on for four goals. He also had, from what I probably miscounted,two blocked shots and three hits. When Streit was in a scuffle, Hammer was right there just in case he had to protect his teammates. Hammer was, well, hammering the Devils' offensemen left and right (only three hits but boy do I remember two of them!) like it was nobody's business.
Yes it was preseason, and yes it was the Devils' B-ish Squad, but thats what I'm getting at. What I saw what was different was the lack of mistakes Hamonic made. I don't remember
biting my tongue saying to myself once, "That's okay, rookie mistake.", or worse, "What were you thinking?!" And that's because he's grown, and I think we can all agree we saw it as clear as day; This is not someone to be messing around with boys, this is the real deal and boy, AM I EXCITED!
Oh and by the way, he's only 21. The Islanders still have a lot of time with him, he's part of the group from last year that turned hit rock bottom and came back firing, he's going to want to stay long term. Call me crazy, but I think Snow hasn't traded for a top two d-man because he thinks Hamonic is our top two d-man, and if that means having a season with average d so next year Hammer is on the top pair with a full season of progression and experience, so he can sign a solid 2nd pair d man for less money and more years, I say good work!
All in all, its going to be a great season. As for the man of this little but, join me when I say: Three cheers for Travis Hamonic fellas!
Hip Hip HAMMERHORAY!