A roundup of the latest trade speculation regarding Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic.
NHL.com: Brian Compton reports New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic told reporters yesterday he wants to be dealt to a team closer to his Winnipeg home for personal reasons, citing a family matter involving someone close to him. His trade request was made several months ago, and both GM Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano were aware of it. Hamonic stressed that in no way was he unhappy with the Islanders. He also understands it could take time for Snow to address his request and doesn’t intend to handcuff the team.
TSN: Darren Dreger claims there’s five teams believed in the forefront, starting with the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche. Snow gave Hamonic’s agent, Kevin Epp, permission several days ago to speak with interested GMs. Unless these listed teams step up, that list could widen. Dreger says it sounds like the Islanders would like a defenseman like Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers, though Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would be reluctant to give up either guy. Cheveldayoff also has to contend with pending UFAs Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, plus pending RFAs like Trouba and Mark Scheifele.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has coveted Hamonic for some time. If the asking price is someone like Darnell Nurse, he doubts the Oilers would do that. On his ESPN blog, LeBrun also believes Trouba could be too much for the Jets to give up, and claims the Minnesota Wild have at least talked to the Isles about Hamonic.
Scott Cullen also examined potential destinations for Hamonic. He notes the Flames would like to move Dennis Wideman, while the Islanders could prefer T.J. Brodie. He wonders if Dougie Hamilton could be part of the equation. The Oilers appealing blueliners are Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. The Canucks don’t appear a good one-for-one swap option. Alex Edler is four years older than Hamonic, while the Canucks would have to add another piece if they were to offer up Chris Tanev. Cullen also cited Dreger’s points about the Jets (Trouba or Myers).
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox also looked at possible destinations and trade options. For the Jets, a swap of Tyler Myers for Hamonic. For the Flames, offer up Kris Russell plus a draft pick or prospect. From the Oilers, Mark Fayne and a pick or prospect, or perhaps Snow shifts from defense for defense and considers one of the Oilers’ young forwards like Nail Yakupov, Leon Draisaitl or Jordan Eberle. For the Canucks, he wonders if the Isles would be tempted by Dan Hamhuis or Alex Edler. For the Wild, he mentions Matt Dumba but also suggest Jared Spurgeon. As for the Avalanche, if they feel they can’t re-sign Tyson Barrie, perhaps that could be a match.
BLEACHER REPORT’s Adrian Dater believes the Avalanche “would love to get Hamonic, but asking price is equivalent top-4 D. Not a surplus area for Avs so unlikely they get him.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: First of all, kudos to Hamonic and the Islanders organization for how they’ve handled this. It certainly can’t be easy for everyone concerned. As I noted yesterday, the fact Hamonic is still an Islander indicates how difficult it is for Snow to find the right fit. Really, there’s only six worthwhile destinations, and while they have varying degrees of interest in Hamonic, finding a suitable fit for both return and dollars isn’t easy.
I think the Jets want to keep Myers, but swapping him for Hamonic would certainly free up some cap space (roughly $1.7 million annually) for one of their free agents. I think the Isles would make that deal if it’s offered up, but are the Jets willing to do it?
Snow seems intent on getting a quality defenseman back, so I doubt he’ll have interest in Fayne from the Oilers, and I don’t see them giving up Klefbom or Nurse. The Flames have lots of blueline depth, but the Isles won’t want Wideman and the Flames won’t part with Brodie. Russell’s a good shotblocker, but I don’t put him on the same overall skills level as Hamonic. As for Hamilton, his expensive new contract and poor performance this season hurts his trade value.
I don’t see the Isles having interest in Hamhuis, while Edler’s age and cap hit ($5 million) could be an issue. I don’t think Spurgeon will interest the Islanders and I doubt the Avs part with Barrie.
What likely happens is Snow remains patient and wait for better offers to come. At some point, be it this season or next summer near the NHL draft, Hamonic will be dealt. It just a matter of finding the right fit.