Travis Hamonic Could Fit a Specific Role for Team Canada in Sochi

Kevin Schultz

On Monday two Islanders were named to Team Canada‘s 47-man preliminary Olympic roster; John Tavares, an obvious choice, and Travis Hamonic, a less obvious choice. The roster will eventually have to be reduced to 25 players in time for Sochi, so the chances that Hamonic sticks aren’t that great. But being named does show that his work as a tough, shutdown defender has gotten him noticed around North America and not only on Long Island.

One of the reasons Hamonic is going to get a look at representing his country is due to the fact that Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman is looking to put together a team that plays well together and not simply an All-Star Team.

“We’re not putting together a team for an NHL all-star game,” Yzerman told Yahoo!’s Harrison Mooney on Monday. “We’re putting together the best possible team that we can to compete against the best players in the world and try and win a gold medal. Part of that comes with having players that can do specific things for us.”

Yzerman elaborated further to Mooney on Hamonic as well as his teammate, Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators, who is another shutdown defender that made Canada’s preliminary roster and could be good at those “specific things” Yzerman mentioned.

“Travis Hamonic is very mobile, a big guy that skates well,” Yzerman continued, “and both guys we consider real solid defensive-minded types that potentially could be complementary to some of the higher-profile or big names or holdovers from our previous teams… we like their defensive abilities that would complement offensive-minded guys that we have.”

Of course the GM of Team Canada isn’t going to talk bad about the players he just selected, but it does go to show that he may be putting together a specific type of team, instead of just grabbing the highest profile names.

Hamonic has been in the national spotlight before, when he played for Canada’s world junior team in 2010. He had three points in six games and a plus nine rating in that tournament, before missing the championship game due to a separated shoulder.