Some thought and even said that bringing Hamonic up to the “big club” from Bridgeport was a bad idea. Some felt that he was being rushed and that damage to his long term confidence and career might result from throwing him into the fire too soon.
Looking back, I must confess that I probably fell in that group to some degree. I believed that bringing him up so early was not necessarily a “smart” thing to do, despite the injuries and circumstances.
How many times have we seen guys rushed to the professional level and have it damage their development? How critical is it for a young player to have some time to phase into the pros at their own pace? Every guy has his own level of progression, and, unfortunately, sometimes, a team’s best interest ends up harming or stunting the growth of a player who might have been destined to great things in his career.Travis Hamonic, however, rose to the occasion. He not only stepped into the lineup as if he belonged there, but he got better and better as the season passed. So early on, he simply looked like he “belong” out there among the “veterans”, and responsibility was given to him and gradually increased by the coaching staff.
In total, Travis played in 62 games. He scored 5 goals and put up 21 assists over that period. He was also a plus 4, while also totaling 103 penalty minutes. To me, these stats clearly demonstrated a guy who grabbed his opportunity and flat out RAN with it.
One aspect of the “Hammer’s” game that was needed on the back line was his physical presence. Travis isn’t afraid to throw his weight around, and he also does not shy away from dropping the gloves. He has good size, and his overall attitude surely earned him a lot of fans, including myself.
To me, I would have to give him a very strong B Plus. The only reason, in my view, that I would not call it an A season is that he made some rookie mistakes, as would be expected, and, by circumstances, he played in 62 of the 82 games. Still, without a doubt, Mr. Hamonic gave the Islanders FAR more than anyone could have expected. He simply became a steady and dynamic force on the blue line, and he got better and better with each game.
Like Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic is a big part of this team’s future on the back line. I think his offensive capabilities are only going to increase, and with more confidence and experience, you could very well have a top 2 member of a pairing. The Hammer surely made an impact on the Isles, and he was definitely among the real positives to take from the season.
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