Islanders will have tough time getting full value for Hamonic


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ALL of the trade speculation swirling around defenceman Travis Hamonic doesn't change the truth the NHL team that needs him the most is the team that currently has him.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/11/2015 (2458 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ALL of the trade speculation swirling around defenceman Travis Hamonic doesn’t change the truth the NHL team that needs him the most is the team that currently has him.

This is an aggravating dilemma for a New York Islanders team that has developed into a Stanley Cup contender.

The Islanders rank fourth in goals-against per game and eighth in goals scored per game, and they have been asked to trade away the player who leads them in ice time (23:20).

Paul Bereswill / Canadian Press files Travis Hamonic celebrates a goal.

Both the eye test and advanced statistics say Hamonic, 25, is critical to the team’s success. According to, Hamonic’s 52.98 percentage Corsi rating is tops among regular Islanders defencemen.

Hamonic, who has three assists, is signed for this season and four more at an attractive US$3.857 million cap number.

Under most circumstances, Hamonic should be untouchable. But he has asked for a trade for family concerns. He would like to be traded to a team closer to his native Manitoba.

The NHL is not a heartless place, and the Islanders are trying to accommodate Hamonic’s wishes. But here’s the problem: to trade Hamonic, they need to acquire a player who can at least come close to performing at Hamonic’s level. Hamonic matches up well against the NHL’s best players. He’s a top-pairing defencemen.

If you have been following the trade speculation, there haven’t been any scenarios suggested where the Islanders are a better team after they make a Hamonic deal.

The best fit may be the Edmonton Oilers. They have talent to trade, and the Oilers, who are giving up 3.26 goals per game, could use him. But they don’t want to part with young defencemen Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom. The Islanders would have to land one of these players.

As much as Islanders general manager Garth Snow may want to be accommodating to Hamonic, who has a reputation for being a quality person, he can’t afford to make a deal that hurts his team in the short run.

This is a deal that would be far easier to make in the offseason, and everyone knows that.

Hamonic may have to be patient, and presumably the Islanders are making an effort to get him home when the Islanders have multiple days between games.

This situation has been compared to the bind Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was in when Martin St. Louis asked to be traded in-season to one specific team, the New York Rangers.

But the Islanders’ situation is probably more stressful because the Lightning could score enough without St. Louis and Hamonic’s contributions are more difficult to replace.

The natural move would be to trade him to the Winnipeg Jets.

Dustin Byfuglien’s name has surfaced because the Jets don’t know if they can re-sign him. He’s really not what the Islanders would need back. Plus, they can’t trade away a valuable asset for a rental.

Another possibility for the Islanders is a three-team deal. Maybe the Islanders trade Hamonic to a non-contender, or a rebuilding team, that could move him easier to Edmonton or Winnipeg for prospects or draft picks.

Maybe they trade Hamonic to Edmonton for a forward that could be flipped elsewhere for the defenseman.

Could the Islanders take Nail Yakupov and other assets for Hamonic? There’s enough intrigue about Yakopov that the Islanders may be able to turn him into defensive help.

Three-team deals don’t happen that often, but it would make plenty of sense in this situation. This trade dilemma is one of the biggest challenges Snow has faced as a general manager. He is going to have highly creative to help both Hamonic and the Islanders. These are the kind of deals that define GM’s careers.


— USA Today


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