2015-16 Season: Off the ice, the 2015-16 season was a trying one for Hamonic, who was dealing with family concerns grave enough to warrant a trade request. But despite the gravity of his situation, the Islanders defenseman turned in a solid season on the ice.
Hamonic led the Islanders in TOI per game last season, skating 23:49 per game, usually hard, shutdown minutes against the opposition’s top players. His impact is summed up by the team’s record – the Islanders were 24-6-6 when Hamonic led the team in TOI.
He scored a career-high tying five goals, adding 16 assists for 21 points, with another three points (1G, 2A) in 11 playoff games. Hamonic nearly missed the playoffs after suffering an injury against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 31 – missing the final five games of the season – but rallied and recovered in time for Game 1 against the Florida Panthers.
The best news for Hamonic at the end of the season was that his family’s health situation had stabilized and he rescinded his trade request, meaning he’ll be back again this season.
Highlight Reel Moment: Hamonic's game-saving stop against the Penguins (Mar. 8, 2016)
The Look Ahead: Just keeping Hamonic was big for the Islanders this offseason, as the replacement cost for a top-pairing, minute-crunching defenseman is high. Hamonic makes up one-third of an effective trio for the Islanders, assuming the gritty, physical shutdown role, while Nick Leddy is the smooth skater/puck-mover and Johnny Boychuk brings the booming shot and devastating hits.
Given their different skill sets, the Islanders are better off having all three of them and Hamonic’s game has also improved since Leddy/Boychuk arrived, as he’s no longer asked to play over 25 minutes per game most nights.
Hamonic wears his heart on his sleeve and will sacrifice his body for the Islanders, including his game-saving stop against the Pittsburgh Penguins in March. He's also one of the team’s emotional leaders and those services will be needed with two of team’s assistant captains departing via free agency. He spent his summer up at his Manitoba refuge, getting married, healing up his body and clearing his mind for another grinding season. Like Leddy, if his next year is similar to the last two, he’ll be a key piece in the Islander puzzle.