New York Islanders fans anxiously await the arrival of a second line center this offseason. However, after shipping Travis Hamonic to Calgary for picks there is a new roster concern that requires attention; the Islanders now lack grit!
The New York Islanders lack grit? How could that be when only a couple seasons ago the fourth line was the bane of the league? Matt Martin leaving played a big part. But with the departure of Travis Hamonic, the grit and sandpaper in this line up is virtually non-existent.
Casey Czikas and Cal Clutterbuck are still grinding away, but neither of them is a glove dropper. Anders Lee can go to the dirty areas, but he’s not a fighter either. Ryan Strome dropped the gloves when needed last season, but he’s gone now too.
Loss of Hamonic
Hamonic wasn’t a big guy either, but nobody bothered to tell him that! He played like he was ten feet tall; all heart.
The last thing Hamonic did in an Islanders game was get hurt fighting in Philadelphia. A fight he started trying to save the Islanders’ season. If the Isles had won the game they would have gone to the playoffs…they got blown out…
The Hammer wasn’t a fighter, but he laid it on the line for the Isles. He brought a physical presence to the front of the net. Look at the defense without Hamonic. Who’s going to clear the slot now?
Johnny Boychuk is getting old; he can’t clear the front of the net too well anymore. Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey are good but they’re small. Dennis Seidenberg has been old for a while now. Adam Pelech and Calvin de Haan are both solid d-men but neither is particularly physical.
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The only one able to help is big Scotty Mayfield. He’s shown he has the extra mental toughness it takes to be the one who steps up for his teammates.
However, I don’t think two aging non-enforcers and a bottom pair d-man are capable of watching over a team full of softer, skill-players. The Islanders will get walked on by bigger, more physical teams.
What To Do…?
I would love to see Matt Duchene in orange and blue, but maybe it’s time NY turned their focus for a new forward elsewhere since recent reports indicate Duchene may not be coming. Besides, with the changes in roster these last couple years, I think it’s important the Islanders consider this new concern during their search.
I’m not saying they should go looking for a goon or a fighter necessarily. Target players talented enough to break the roster based on the merit of their hockey abilities. Still, this issue needs to be addressed.
Otherwise, the team might end up looking like Montréal; with plenty of talent, but not enough guts, size or strength to make the finish line.