With the offseason departure of defenseman Mark Streit, the position of captain of the Islanders is now open.
Among the likely candidates is heavy favorite John Tavares. Tavares, who is obviously the face of the franchise, has many qualities a captain should possess. He has skill on the ice, makes necessary strides to play to his best ability, and is a positive force in the locker room. He is liked by everyone surrounding the Islanders organization, and he should be. However, don’t just assume Tavares cruises into the role of captain without contest, because there may very well be other candidates that are equally if not more worthy of the job than the Islanders superstar.
Of said candidates, the one that could bring the most competition would be defenseman Travis Hamonic. As if to prove his mettle by showing everyone a well known missing front tooth, he does the dirty work in addition to being a physical, intimidating force (just ask Evgeni Malkin).
He likes to bang bodies, block shots, and is certainly not afraid to chase a puck into a corner. Travis is a vocal player, whether it be inspiring his teammates or antagonizing opposing players. He is a feisty player; one who gets very involved in the game in both the physical and mental aspect. He fights, he talks, is physical, can occasionally score (Hamonic put up 10 points in 43 games played this season), and is a positive locker room presence.
There is no doubt in some observers minds that Hamonic is capable of captaining this Islanders team. So why hasn’t he been granted serious consideration during talks among Islanders faithful? The answer is unknown.
Hamonic has leadership ability and plays a tenacious style much different to that of Tavares. Physicality has become part of the identity of this Islanders team, and we have players like Hamonic to thank for that.
While Tavares probably will win the honor of having the ‘C’ stitched onto his jersey come training camp given his tremendous skill and popularity, don’t just throw the name of Travis Hamonic out the window. It’s definitely something to think about, and hopefully Jack Capuano feels the same way.
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