Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hamonic Believes Isles on the Rise

Travis Hamonic watches during Friday's on-ice
session at Wheat Kings' Prospects camp.
While new players were getting acquainted with the Wheat Kings organization on Friday night, some old faces also made an appearance including New York Islanders' defenceman Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic had five goals and 26 points in 62 games in his rookie season in the National Hockey League, making his debut on November 24 after just 19 games with Bridgeport in the American Hockey League.

"I couldn't have asked for a better situation or a better opportunity than the one that I had opened up for me this season," says the St. Malo, Manitoba product, "I thought I really took the ball and ran with it...the coaches gave me a lot of opportunity and I felt I took advantage of that ice time."

Hamonic, who doesn't turn 21 until August 16, is part of the new guard for the Islanders, who haven't made the NHL playoffs for four consecutive seasons.

However, the 6-foot-2, 215 pound Hamonic believes the club is building a stable of good young players that can continue to grow together.

"I think it's an exciting time to be an Islander fan and to be an Islander player. In the new NHL, I think a lot of things really happen and the team is really built around the draft," says Hamonic, "You watch the blueprint from other teams that have done it, and they're building from a young core. No better time to come to the rink and enjoy yourself when you're playing with a bunchy of young guys...sometimes, you look around the room and you feel like you're still playing junior because the guys are so young in there."

The Islanders finished with a 30-39-13 record and with 73 points this past season, but went 15-12-6 from February 1 through to the end of the regular season.

Chaff...Graduated Wheat King David Toews, who was a third round pick of the Islanders in the 2008 Entry Draft, told me Friday that he's having discussions with New York about a possible contract. The Isles hold Toews' NHL rights until June 1, 2012.

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