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Top 25 Islanders Under 25: Travis Hamonic at #3, Fittingly

This is how the NHL draft works, and why rebuilding GMs stockpile extra lottery scratch-offs picks:

Allan Rourke is a defenseman you've probably already forgotten, signed after the lockout and compiling all of 17 games across two seasons with the New York Islanders. On July 5, 2007 he was packaged with a 2008 third-round pick (the Islanders later got that back and selected Kirill Petrov) to Edmonton for the Ducks' second round 2008 pick the Oilers had acquired in the Chris Pronger trade.

The Islanders used that pick to draft Travis Hamonic, who -- after the Islanders moved down twice in the Josh Bailey draft -- ended up being the Islanders' third pick (53rd overall) in that 2008 second round. (The others: Corey Trivino at 36 and Aaron Ness at 40.) Now Hamonic at age 21 is arguably the Islanders' best defensive defenseman.

He's also their third-best property under age 25, according to our internal poll taken in September.

Hamonic's lack of offense (just two assists on a team that simply isn't scoring) and minus-10 might fool the casual observer into thinking he's having an off sophomore season, but in truth he's being matched against the opponent's best line almost every night, and he hasn't been on the Islanders' first powerplay unit. By relative Corsi he's behind only Mark Streit (who gets more offensive zone starts) on the Islanders blueline.

If there is any lag in his game in year two, it is marginal and not cause for concern. As he develops, something he told us during a 2010 interview while he was still in juniors is worth benchmarking:

The Islanders just want me to try to be a dominant player, period. The scoring, that's part of it, but I've had a lot of help from my teammates [when his scoring increased in juniors]. I just wanted to round out my play this year and prove I could be a complete player. Prove I could put the puck in the net, complete a hit, fight, be a shutdown guy, do it all...

Hamonic is a keeper, and thank Allan Rourke for that.

How We Voted in September

Top 25 Under 25 mikb M11 CIL Dom KQ Mark
Travis Hamonic
2 4

Note: The voting margin between 2nd and 5th was razor thin.

For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard (Mark D), mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but with varied enough votes to get us thinking about who are the best hockey players now, balanced with who has the best potential/value long-term.

Related Reading

Previous Posts in This Top 25 Islanders Under 25 Series

The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, so Andrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.