Ottawa Senators Player Grades: Travis Hamonic

Stop. Hammer Time. Please, no more Hammer Time.

Ottawa Senators Player Grades: Travis Hamonic
Photo by iMattSmart / Unsplash

Reader Grade: D, Staff Grade: D-

Poor guy was done dirty, no question about it. We all know what he's capable of, and, at this stage of his career, it unfortunately isn’t what it used to be. But the Ottawa Senators thought differently: they believed they were a playoff team with Travis Hamonic playing meaningful minutes. It didn’t play out that way.

For an organization that claims to value Hamonic as a player and person, they showed their support for him in a peculiar way during the 2023-24 season. I'm not online enough to get angry about a two-year deal at a $1.1M cap hit by itself, since that salary can be buried in the minors without a penalty, but the No-Movement Clause that Pierre Dorion handed out ensured that if the Sens maxed out their cap space, Hamonic was playing, no questions asked. D.J. Smith and Jacques Martin couldn't have scratched him if they were held at gunpoint.

32 NHL teams would call Travis Hamonic a "quality teammate and positive presence in the <insert city name> community", but only the Ottawa Senators would call him that and hand him a completely unnecessary NMC.

In most situations, accepting that kind of contract is a great idea, but there might've been second thoughts at some point. At times, he looked like he was a hop, skip, and jump away from Gaborik Island. He was 32 years old, coming off a full season of being miscast in a 2rd-pairing role, and even though the coaching staff limited his ice to under 15 minutes a night, that was still too much.

"Coach, please, can I just rest in the press box for one game?"

"You want us to play 12 F and 5 D?"

" *dies inside*"

In 48 games this season, he put up 2 goals, 4 assists, a -10 rating, and 40 PIM. He also ranked dead-last among regular Sens defenders in 5-on-5 Corsi % (42.92%) and expected goals % (40.98%). Both of his most common partners in Erik Brännström and Jakob Chychrun fared much better away from him. He looked, quite often, simply over matched.

There's not much else to discuss here. Hamonic was about what we could have reasonably expected this season, in that his grade would be determined by the role the organization marked for him. Whether they intentionally made him a mainstay on the blue line in the first half of the season or via a lack of foresight in just how much space they had to work with (not sure which is worse) will forever remain a mystery.

Hamonic had a tough campaign and is a likely buyout candidate, but even though I graded him lower than any other skater, I can't look at him and feel anger. He didn’t give himself that contract and no one in his position would have ever said no to it.

Now I command you to watch the following secondary assist and have a good chuckle.

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