Latest on Travis Hamonic and Patrick Marleau, status of Eric Staal, Anze Kopitar and Steven Stamkos, plus an updates on the Canadiens. 

Latest Hamonic speculation and more.

Are the Islanders any closer to trading Travis Hamonic?

Are the Islanders any closer to trading Travis Hamonic?

SPORTSNET: Damien Cox wonders how long the New York Islanders will keep “unhappy” defenseman Travis Hamonic around since news of his trade request broke last week. Cox reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray’s been interested in Hamonic for months and he has depth in defensemen to make a move. He also claims there’s those who believe Hamonic could accept a trade to Anaheim, though it’s far from Winnipeg where he’d prefer to be dealt. If so, Cox wonders if the blueliner could be one of those players believed unhappy playing in Brooklyn.

He also claims there’s word the deal could be done by “Monday or Tuesday,” though the fact this has been dragging on for months means Isles GM Garth Snow isn’t rushing to get a deal done. Cox also cited the speculation linking Hamonic to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic made it quite clear his trade request was for family reasons. I don’t doubt Snow’s been trying to find the right fit, both to help Hamonic and the Islanders. I believe he’ll be patient. As for the Ducks, offense is their biggest issue, not a swap of defensemen. They’re at the bottom of the league in scoring. Adding Hamonic doesn’t address that issue, unless the Ducks intend to flip him for a scoring forward.

Speaking of the Oilers, Cox wonders if this is the year they could try to leverage a high first-round draft pick to improve their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers are once again in line to win the draft lottery, they absolutely should consider leveraging that picks to perhaps add a proven starting goaltending or a top-two defenseman. Yes, I know, Auston Matthews is considered a can’t-miss prospect, but the Oilers are top-heavy in talented young forwards, most of whom were first-overall draft picks. Matthews won’t help them keep the puck out of the net.

Cox also finds it strange that Carolina’s Eric Staal, Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos remain unsigned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Cox noted, the situation of each one is different, but I believe uncertainty over next season’s salary cap is the major sticking point right now. Until these teams know for certain how much cap space they’ll have to work with, they can’t get into serious negotiations right now.

Several hockey people are wondering if San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau won’t be traded and might even rescind his trade request. “It’s a hard deal to make because of Marleau’s contract, and with few teams having the cap space to accommodate him. Maybe, just maybe, he ends up staying put.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe there’s any “maybe” about it. He’s staying put. The Sharks aren’t trading Marleau to another California-based team, while the New York Rangers lack the cap space to take on Marleau’s cap hit, plus they have no need for him.

Elliotte Friedman (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT) also believes the Ducks are in on Travis Hamonic. He notes Snow has tried to do right by Hamonic, but wonders if at some point he has to make a move that’s in the team’s best interest. He also believes if the Flames get into this, it could take a three-way deal to get it done. He feels the Ducks and Jets are a couple of teams who can do this directly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take a three-way deal to find the right fit for Hamonic, but the salary cap makes such moves difficult, especially during the season. 

CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports sources claim the Islanders asked for T.J. Brodie or Dougie Hamilton for Hamonic, but both requests were rejected.

Latest on the Canadiens.

SPORTSNET 960 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are trying to make a trade. While center Lars Eller is often mentioned, one GM laughingly pointed his name seems to pop up every three months. Friedman believes they’re seeking both a forward and a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt GM Marc Bergevin is “all in” this season. I also wonder if his efforts to bolster his depth at right wing have increased in the wake of Brendan Gallagher’s hand injury. In the past three seasons, Bergevin’s shown his willingness to make significant deals, most of which occur near the trade deadline. I expect that’s when he’ll likely strike again, as that’s when the trade market will be at its peak.