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Islanders get Hamonic back against Sharks

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 21: Travis Hamonic #3 of the New York Islanders skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 21, 2014 in Uniondale, New York. Maple Leafs defeated the Islanders 5-2. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Islanders have been struggling to stop opposing teams from scoring, so tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks seems especially foreboding. At least they’ll be close to full strength on defense, however.

Travis Hamonic appears primed to return to the lineup in exchange for Brian Strait tonight, according to New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Injuries have clouded how the new-look Islanders defense might look as the 2014-15 season goes on.

While the team is still working Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy into the mix (with quite a bit of success, of course), Lubomir Visnovsky has only played in four games while Hamonic’s been limited to six. Both blueliners figure to be key pieces to this defense.

Hamonic, 24, probably won’t average more than 25 minutes per night like he did last season thanks to his team’s improved talent in the top four, yet he’s still expected to be a key contributor.

Of course, some of the burden falls upon goalies Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson, who aren’t off to great start so far with the Isles.

On paper, tonight’s game against the Sharks seems like it has the potential to be another track meet-type game, but the Islanders are better equipped if Saturday instead turns out to be a tighter contest thanks to Hamonic’s return.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins