Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) shoots the puck before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

My Wish List, Part 6: Which Player on the New York Islanders Would I Like to See on the Buffalo Sabres?

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April 23, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) is congratulated by teammates after his 3rd period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 4-3 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As I continue my wish list of the “available” players in the NHL who I would most like to see play for the Buffalo Sabres, I feel compelled to remind everyone: while I am highlighting players I truly feel could improve the Buffalo Sabres, this is a wish list!  Whether or not it comes true is not my concern; generating discussion about who YOU would like to see from each team, is!

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Travis Hamonic, Defense

Looking for an offensive-minded defenseman?  Look elsewhere; offense is the last thing I am looking for when I watch Hamonic play for the Islanders.  After all, he’s only scored 10 points in this, his third season in the NHL.  Hell, he’s only scored 60 points total in three seasons, a mere 12 points more than Tyler Myers scored in his rookie season.

And yet . . . Hamonic was one of only eight Islanders to play in every single game this season.  He led the Islanders in shifts per game (27.2) and was fourth on the team in average ice time (22.48 minutes per game).  Spend a little time watching him, like I did at the Sabres final game of the season, and it’s not too difficult to see why the Islanders are so willing to play this kid when he is only the fourth highest-scoring defenseman on the team.   In the limited time I spent watching him (after all, it was Ryan Miller‘s 500th game, remember?), I managed to jot down these observations:

– plays physical

– not huge but a good-sized kid

– active getting his puck on passes and shots

– seemed to be in good defensive position more often than not

– two blocked shots that I saw (he actually ended the game with 6, only three less than the entire Sabres team)

Hamonic only took one shot against the Sabres on Friday, yet he logged 24:29 minutes of ice time. He was never out of position that I

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saw, he used his body often, and played passing lanes as well as anyone I have seen play hockey this year.  Forget the fact that he doesn’t score; I saw too much of Buffalo Sabres blueliners such as Tyler Myers trying to do too much with the puck on offense this year, resulting in their being woefully out of position when their opposition brought the puck back toward the Sabres’ zone.  Hamonic plays defense, and boy does he play it well.  Every team could use a shut-down defender, and that is why I would love to see Travis Hamonic play for the Buffalo Sabres.  (And, if you’re curious, he is in the last year of his entry-level contract!  I know: don’t get your hopes up.  Killjoy!)
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