Updates on Travis Hamonic, Semyon Varlamov and Dan Hamhuis, plus speculation over the Montreal Canadiens searching for a forward.
Latest on Hamonic.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen reports on the difficulty New York Islanders GM Garth Snow faces in honoring defenseman Travis Hamonic’s request for a trade to (preferably) a Western-Canadian team. While considering the Edmonton Oilers the best fit, Allen doubts they’ll part with Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse. The natural move would be to ship Hamonic, a Manitoba native, to the Winnipeg Jets. While Dustin Byfuglien’s name has surfaced, Allen notes Snow won’t trade an asset for a pending UFA. Allen wonders if a three-way deal is possible, envisioning a scenario whereby the Isles trade Hamonic to the Oilers for a young forward like Nail Yakupov, then flipping him to another club for a quality defenseman.
TSN 1260: Bob McKenzie spoke about the difficulty for the Edmonton Oilers of acquiring Hamonic. He notes the Minnesota Wild are extremely interested, but believes the Isles might look at someone like Jonas Brodin in return. He feels Snow would want Klefbom or Nurse in return for Hamonic, and he’s not sure the Oilers would make that move. McKenzie believes Snow won’t rush into a deal and if he can’t find a suitable trade before the trade deadline, he’ll wait until the offseason. He also speculates it could take a bigger deal to move Hamonic, possibly including a pending UFA like Kyle Okposo or perhaps Ryan Strome if they receive something they perceive as good value.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson dismisses the notion of the Oilers dealing Taylor Hall for Hamonic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like Allen’s suggestion of a three-way trade, but such deals are extremely rare in today’s salary-cap world. I believe the Oilers, Jets and Wild are the most likely destinations, but it’s finding the right fit in terms of dollars and return. Snow will be patient. I daresay the earliest he’ll move Hamonic is near the Feb. 29 trade deadline, but as McKenzie notes, he could wait until the offseason if he doesn’t find what he wants before the deadline. Hamonic isn’t putting pressure on Snow, so the Isles GM can afford to take his time.
Canadiens seeking a forward?
SPORTSNET: Hockey Central at Noon panel discussed the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens going out and finding a forward, noting their experiment with Alexander Semin isn’t working out. They wonder if GM Marc Bergevin might part with defenseman Jarred Tinordi.
TSN 690: Bob McKenzie also mused on the possibility of Bergevin shopping for a right wing. He speculates if Bergevin makes a move it could be for a long-term acquisition, rather than a patchwork deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: When making trades, Bergevin usually prefer acquisitions who can fit into his club’s long-term plans. However, he’s not shy about bringing in a rental player, as he did with Thomas Vanek in 2014. With the Canadiens challenging for first in the league’s overall standings, he’s obviously in no hurry to make a move right now. I suspect he’ll wait until closer to the trade deadline in hopes of landing a scoring right wing.
Updates on Valarmov and Hamhuis.
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers suggests Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov could be the odd man out next season, or at the trade deadline, if he doesn’t pick up his performance after returning from a recent injury.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston wonders if a playoff contender could be interested in Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. While Hamhuis has a no-trade clause, Johnston raises the possibility of his waiving that clause to go to a Stanley Cup contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5.9 million cap hit through 2018-19. Combine that with ongoing struggles between the pipes, and moving him isn’t a certainty. As for Hamhuis, if the Canucks are out of playoff contention leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline, I believe they’ll offer him the opportunity to go to a contender.