Travis Hamonic (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
The New York Islanders will be without Travis Hamonic for 2-3 weeks due to a lower-body injury. Hamonic, 25, has been the Islanders top blueliner this season and his absence could make maintaining a post-season position tough for New York.
There’s not a lot of breathing room in the Metropolitan Division and the third place New York Islanders are going to have to try to hold onto their spot in the standings without the services of arguably their top defenseman.
Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported Monday that Travis Hamonic will be out for the next two-to-three weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Already without Johnny Boychuk, Staple said there’s a good possibility both he and Hamonic will be out through the all-star break.
Even though Hamonic was part of one of the most curious early-season stories when he requested a trade out of New York, it hasn’t become a distraction and the 25-year-old blueliner has been putting together a nice season for the Islanders. His offensive totals aren’t huge — he has just two goals and eight points in 41 games — but Hamonic is logging more ice time per game than any other player on the Islanders by more than a full minute.
From a puck possession and play-driving standpoint, losing Hamonic will also hurt. Hamonic has the best full-strength shot attempts for percentage, 52 percent, of all Islanders defensemen even though he takes the third-most defensive zone starts among New York blueliners. Even more impressive is that Hamonic has managed to drive play so well while facing the toughest competition of the Islanders D-corps, too.
As far as the trade of Hamonic goes, the injury will likely have little bearing on whether or not he’s moved this season. With the Islanders right in the thick of the playoff race, it wasn’t a certainty that Hamonic would even be dealt before the trade deadline and it seems even more unlikely with the injury to Boychuk and how tight the playoff race is. Of course, New York GM Garth Snow could flip Hamonic at the deadline if the Islanders slip out of a post-season position, but all signs point to the young blueliner staying with the Islanders at least through this season.
The lucky break in all this for New York is that the all-star break is fast-approaching and the Islanders’ schedule isn’t packed before players get back from the All-Star Game in Nashville. Including Saturday’s game, which the Islanders lost 4-0 in Hamonic’s absence, New York will only play seven games without the defenseman’s services before the break. If he’s ready to come back post-break, Hamonic can suit up Feb. 2 against Minnesota.
For the time being, Scott Mayfield was called up from AHL Bridgeport to fill in for Hamonic. In 35 AHL games this season, Mayfield has three goals and five points.