Travis Hamonic requests trade, preferably to western Canada

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.

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Hey, Calgary is in western Canada!

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:

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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.

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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?

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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.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    The package I’d be comfortable with being dealt would be something along the lines of this:

    1st round pick (slides to next year if CGY misses playoffs), 2nd round pick, Kris Russell, Marcus Granlund, and Tyler Wotherspoon.

    Edit: This is probably too much. Take out the first and I think it’s about right though. Giving up a pick, 2 prospects without much of a future in out organization, and Russell.

    • BurningSensation

      I think that offer fails the smell test. Hamonic is a young stud who pushes all thd buttons except 1st unit PP. Also his contract is excellent bordering on absurdly good.

      If the Oilers outbid us (landing one of their biggest missing pieces – a first pairing defenseman), I think we regret not making a more serious offer.

      • wot96

        I think that offer is exactly the opposite of what they are asking for. Picks and prospects and Russell?

        Maybe Russell + Hudler. Or Wideman + Colborne.
        Or Russell + Backlund.

        Although Backlund would be a loss, gaining Hamonic and losing Russell would still put us ahead of the game.
        Hudler could regain some of his magic playing in the East.

        • BurningSensation

          Nobody trades a 24-25 year old first pairing defender for a bad 3rd pairing shot blocker and a 32+ smurf on the downside. Not even Garth Snow.

          I also dont see the Islanders needing/wanting forwards, so Backlund, Jooris, and Ferland are likely not appealing to them, and Mono-Bennett-Johnny aren’t going anywhere.

          Given that Calgary isn’t/shouldn’t going to put Brodie or Hamilton on the table the remaining options include a mix of picks/prospects, or selling off Giordano.

          A Giordano for Hamonic deal might be the ticket though, especially if we can get one of their prized young forwards in a larger deal (either Barzal or Strome).

        • supra steve

          If Russell + Backlund gets their interest, I would make that move for a #2 defender. But, I’m sure the Oil will be in on the bidding, price could inflate rapidly.

  • MontanaMan

    If we could do Hudler and Wideman, BT would be arrested for robbery. Way too much age and salary going NYI way and would put them over the cap unless Calgary retained considerable salary. I really don’t see anyone on the farm exciting the Isles so it will need to be from their active roster. On defence, I’d be open ot Gio. Yes I love his leadership but he’s on the decline and Hamonic is reputed to be a good leader in his own right (he’s worn the “A” for several years). Gio, Backlund and Jooris? And this might be unpopular but let’s throw it out – Hamilton for Hamonic straight across? Hamilton with the most PP time of any d-man last night – showcasing?

  • KH44

    What about Hudler and Poirer and Klimchuk? A solid NHLer but a depreciating asset they can show off as for now, and a couple former first rounders that are close to NHL ready? If want a defenseman, swap out Klimchuk for Wotherspoon. If they need a defenceman back in the deal, give them Russell for one of their bottom four, say Zidlicky, who has been a healthy scratch for them. This gives the Flames a top four of brodie, giordano, hamilton and hamonic, with wideman and engelland/smid as the sixth.

    • MontanaMan

      Poirier’s been awful so he hasn’t exactly helped his trade position and a team would have to ask, if a player can’t crack the Flames lineup (Poirier, Klimchuk, T-Spoon) how would they crack the Isles lineup. And why would the Isles want them?

  • DestroDertell

    Pass. I don’t even want to know how much he’ll cost, I just know it’ll be too much.

    The table is somewhat misleading. If you look at scale, you’ll notice there’s barely a difference in the toughness of the minutes played by Hamonic and the group on the right.

    Positive raw Corsi =/= positive possession player. Let’s remember coaching has a strong impact on those numbers (see Bylsma, Babcock for positive example or Hartley if you want a negative one). His relCorsi has not been very good throughout his career.

    To be fair, without Strait, his Corsi does look a bit better. But even then, he’s still a question mark.

    25 is not that young. It’s p. close to prime years and he has already played quite a bit so we do know what his potential is by now.

  • SydScout

    This would require more than the Hamilton trade. Our first would have to be part of it, which is a danger if we luck out in one of the first three lottery spots (assumption – we don’t make playoffs).

    So, a first, second and a top prospect. Problem is, the Isles most likely want close to NHL D replacements. This may end up scuppering a move to the Flames. TSpoon – unlikely. Fat Ras – unlikely. Kylington – possible.

    First, Wideman retained salary or Russell and Kylington. On balance, I’d do this.