|Photo Credits: espn.com|
After playing 62 games during his rookie season, Hamonic came into this season knowing exactly what was expected of him. He did not disappoint any of the critics. This season, Hamonic appeared in 73 games, and kept on playing late in the season even though he had a broken nose. For most of the season, he was paired with Andrew MacDonald, and the two were a great defensive pair, oftene being sent out to play against the other team's top lines. Hamonic's offensive totals (2-22-24) aren't awful, but he known for defense, and some other stats prove it. He was 17th in the whole NHL in blocked shots with 157, and he also had 170 hits. Another baffling number is that Hamonic had the highest +/- of any Islander, registering a +6. That might not seem like much, but the fact that any Islanders were a positive this season is a statement in itself. If Hamonic can pick up his offensive game and keep his defensive game up, then he can be an elite defenseman in the years to come.
|Photo Credit: newsday.com|
While his partner Travis Hamonic definitely improved from 2010-11 to this past season, Andrew MacDonald might have regressed a little bit. In 2010-11, A-Mac only played in 60 games, but had 27 points (4-23-27) and was a +9. This previous season, he played in 75 games, most of them with Travis Hamonic, and only registered 19 points (5-14-19) and was a -5. What can be the reason behind this? One reason may be that he and Hamonic always played against opponent's top lines and that may have had something to do with it. Also, MacDonald has definitely not been as much of an offensive threat as he was in previous seasons. MacDonald has done great on defense, and his rating isn't any higher because of the significant points drop.
#24 Steve Staios 71/100
|Photo Credit: daylife.com|
Milan Jurcina's season is also a very interesting one. This season, he played in 65 games, 19 more than he did in the previous season. However, his numbers are just dreadful. He only had 11 points. (3-8-11) It seems like all of his shots went wide, and he reminds me a little bit of Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the Major League movies. He has a great slapshot, probably around or maybe over 100 miles per hour. However, he has trouble getting it on net. Another dreadful stat is his +/- of -34. You read that correctly -34. That means when at even strength, the other team scored 34 more goals than the Isles did when Jurcina was on the ice. If he can figure out his slapshot, then he can be a nice complement to Mark Streit.
#42 Dylan Reese 66/100
Reese has been called and recalled by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers mutiple times this season. Next season, I would hope that he will start the season in the NHL. He only played in 28 games this season, and in many of those games, he was paired with Mark Streit. He had seven points (1-6-7) in those 28 games. More suprisingly, his +/- was 0. He was dead even in that category. Reese is very young and talented, and with Steve Staios unlikely to return, a roster spot will be open. I think that Reese is the leading candidate for that spot. He is the guy the Islanders went to before Aaron Ness, Matt Donovan, and Calvin de Haan, who all had breif call ups. For this past season however, we didn't see too much, but we saw glimpses of what looks to be a bright future for a good young defenseman.
What a year it's been for Mark Eaton. He is the textbook definition of a defensive defenseman. Most of the year, he was with Milan Jurcina, so his +/- took a hit at -17. But for at least one game in Ottawa, he was the man. It was his 600th National Hockey league game, a one to remember, and in overtime, he broke a long scoreless drought by scoring his first goal as an Islander. You can watch it by clicking on his name just above. Eaton has been a very solid defenseman for the past couple seasons. His rating is the way it is because while he has done little offensively, his defense has been superb. He should be back next season and I don't see why the Isles wouldn't bring him back.
#2 Mark Streit 88/100
|Credit: Getty Images|
That's it for the defensemen. Next up will be the forwards. Since there are so many of them, I might do the forwards in two separate entries. If you disagree with any of the rankings I made, I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments.
Lets Go Islanders!!!