Travis Hamonic is a 25-year-old right-shooting defenceman who already has 342 NHL games under his belt. Selected 53rd overall by the New York Islanders, he’s found a home there – a home he apparently wants out of, for undisclosed personal reasons.
And he wants to go to western Canada.
Hey, Calgary is in western Canada!
Hamonic loves the Isles. This is personal. Wpg, Edmtn, Cgy and Van all preferred. Might expand to other west cities. Tough on Isles….
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 18, 2015
Here’s the deal: Hamonic is a very good player. He plays in the Islanders’ toughest situations, and he’s a positive possession player. Take a gander at how the Islanders used him through 2014-15, via War on Ice:
He faced the second toughest zone starts next to Brian Strait, and he played top competition – all at the age of 24. He’s being used in a similar position this season, as well. Though he isn’t getting the toughest competition or zone starts through the first quarter of 2015-16, he’s still up there when it comes to difficult circumstances played, and his possession numbers are currently the best on the Islanders’ defence.
And again: he’s only 25 years old. Hamonic has just three assists through 19 games this season, but he is coming off of a career high 33 point season, and he’s not going to keep shooting at 0% forever. He also takes on an average of 23 minutes a night, which are top pairing minutes.
He’s locked up pretty cheap, too. Hamonic’s cap hit is a mere $3.857 million for the next five seasons. You know how T.J. Brodie is already on a steal of a deal? Hamonic’s is even better.
In short: he’s a player you want on your team. And with Calgary being on his list, he’s a guy the Flames should absolutely be going after; if not for themselves, then to stop one of their rivals from getting him.
What would he cost?
Here’s the problem: Hamonic is not going to come cheap. We’re talking about a very young, talented defender. Just because he’s on the market doesn’t mean the Islanders can be fleeced over.
What would you want in return for T.J. Brodie? Because those are essentially the levels we’re talking about here. And according to Elliotte Friedman, the Islanders aren’t interested in picks or prospects. They want good, NHL-level players.
Brodie himself is almost certainly not on the table, and I’d venture to say the Flames aren’t interested in giving up on Dougie Hamilton considering their investment in him (he’s also younger, and is just starting to turn the corner in Calgary). If the Islanders are willing to take a quality forward, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sam Bennett are probably off the table as well.
Everyone else, though? Why not?
Here’s a thought: how about Jiri Hudler? He’s coming off the best season of his career, and even though he hasn’t had the best start to this season, he’s still on-pace for 50+ points. He’s a quality, if depreciating, asset.
The depreciating part is a problem, though. Hudler is 31 years old, and an upcoming unrestricted free agent who’s going to be looking to cash in. He’s still a good player, but he’s pretty much the opposite of what Hamonic is: declining, and expensive.
Here’s another, potentially more blasphemous thought: how about Mark Giordano?
Giordano has been struggling to start this season, but he’s not far removed from back-to-back Norris-worthy campaigns. He’s been signed long-term, so there’s no risk of him bolting, even though he’ll be a bit more expensive (nearly double Hamonic’s cap hit). The same reasons the Flames may be interested in dealing him, though – the fact that he may not be worth his cap hit as he ages and inevitably declines – may be the reason the Islanders would be wary of trading for him.
But they’re conversation starters. If the Flames are going to acquire Hamonic, it’s going to cost them. But to have a 25-year-old T.J. Brodie, a 22-year-old Dougie Hamilton, and a 25-year-old Travis Hamonic on the same blueline? It would be worth it.