Can The Flames Make A Pitch For Travis Hamonic?

The hockey world began buzzing yesterday, as news broke that New York Islanders defenseman – and Manitoba native – Travis Hamonic requested a trade prior to the season. And due to personal reasons, he’d like to head closer to home in Western Canada.

Right away, Flames fans were salivating at the prospect of their beloved hockey club further adding young talent to their defensive group. But is adding Travis Hamonic a realistic thing to hope for? Let us delve into what the Islanders might want and what the Flames would be willing to give up.

WHAT IS HAMONIC?

Travis Hamonic is a 25-year-old, right-handed defenseman. He’s under contract through the end of the 2019-20 season at a cap hit of $3.857 million. (For comparison’s sake, he’s about $800,000 cheaper than T.J. Brodie, who’s two months younger.)

Is Hamonic any good? In a word: yes.

Season Age CorsiFor% OZStart%
2010-11 20 48.6% 46.7%
2011-12 21 48.4% 49.7%
2012-13 22 46.9% 47.7%
2013-14 23 50.2% 49.4%
2014-15 24 50.8% 51.5%
2015-16 25 53.0% 48.6%

For comparison’s sake, here’s T.J. Brodie in the same time-span:

Season Age CorsiFor$ OZStart%
2010-11 20 52.% 47.1%
2011-12 21 52.1% 51.5%
2012-13 22 50.1% 47.6%
2013-14 23 51.5% 41.6%
2014-15 24 45.8% 40.3%
2015-16 25 50.2% 44.5%

Career-to-date, Hamonic has nearly identical possession stats (49.3% CorsiFor vs. Brodie’s 49.2%) through he’s gotten a lot more offensive zone-starts (49.2% versus Brodie’s 43.5%). Hamonic’s also played in about 60 more NHL games during the time-span, as he became an NHL regular a little bit faster and Hamonic’s offensive production is a little bit worse than Brodie’s.

If you said that Hamonic was a “meaner, right-handed T.J. Brodie with a better cap hit,” you wouldn’t be wrong but there are a few other differences in their games. But that phrasing basically captures the broad strokes of it.

And for the curious, he played junior hockey primarily with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, but played part of his final season in the Dub on the Brandon Wheat Kings with Flames winger Micheal Ferland.

WHAT THE FLAMES MIGHT OFFER

So presuming that the Flames want another good, young right-handed defender, what would they try to get Garth Snow excited about?

DENNIS WIDEMAN

  • Pros: Right-handed, good offensive player
  • Cons: Not great defensively, super-expensive cap-wise
  • The Flames would love to move Wideman, if only because it would create a spot for a younger blueliner and it would give them a great deal of cap flexibility going forward. But Wideman’s signed for another season at $5.25 million and it’s extremely unlikely that (a) the Islanders would eat that deal or (b) the Flames would eat enough salary to make the deal palatable.

KRIS RUSSELL

  • Pros: Veteran presence, locker room leader, willing to block shots
  • Cons: Pending UFA, seems to be slowing down, offensive game isn’t amazing, defensive game seems to be eroding
  • The good news is that Russell is relatively young, inexpensive and has a lot of intangibles that hockey people like. Unfortunately, as a pending UFA the Islanders may be worried about giving up too much for a guy that can walk on July 1. Additionally, they may be concerned about Russell’s struggles this season and expending a young asset on a guy that’s turning 29 soon.

JIRI HUDLER

  • Pros: Veteran presence, established scoring threat, good complement to Islanders young core
  • Cons: Pending UFA, hasn’t been amazing this season
  • Many of the reasons the Islanders might not want Kris Russell also apply for Hudler. He had a great season last year, but he’s struggled at times this season and if I’m a GM, I’d be worried about spending an asset on Hudler, particularly if I don’t think he has a future in my organization. Using Hamonic on a rental player would be colossally dumb.

WHAT THE ISLES MIGHT ASK FOR

T.J. BRODIE

  • Pros: Really good defenseman, young, relatively inexpensive
  • Cons: Basically a left-handed, less physical Hamonic with a higher cap hit
  • This is probably the closest thing you can see to a lateral trade for the Isles; they trade a 25-year-old good young defender for another one. Brodie’s more expensive and more of a pass-first guy.

DOUGIE HAMILTON

  • Pros: Young, good defensively, also right-handed
  • Cons: Not amazingly defensively, kind-of expensive relative to Hamonic
  • I really doubt the Flames would move a player they highly coveted and just went out of their way to acquire.

RASMUS ANDERSSON

  • Pros: Young, right-handed.
  • Cons: Conditioning not there yet, not ready to play in the NHL right away
  • Andersson would have to be part of a larger package, but he’s been strong in the OHL and the thought is he’ll be playing pro next season.

OLIVER KYLINGTON

  • Pros: Young, really talented skater and puck-handler
  • Cons: Not amazing defensively yet, not ready to play in the NHL right away
  • Like Andersson, Kylington is super young and super talented. But since the Isles reportedly want NHL bodies back for Hamonic, he’d need to be part of a larger package. He’s already playing regular minutes in North American pro… at 18.

BRANDON HICKEY

  • Pros: Young, really talented skater, big-game experience in NCAA
  • Cons: Hasn’t played pro of any kind yet, not ready to play in the NHL right away
  • Again, Hickey is internally highly-valued, but has played zero minutes of pro hockey and so would need to be part of a larger package.

FIRST AND/OR SECOND ROUND PICKS

  • The Flames probably think they’ll be better next year, so would try to get the Islanders to take high-end picks next season, if possible. But Treliving traded away top 60 picks this year, so he might be hesitant to do any deals that remove organizational flexibility at the draft.

A POTENTIAL FLAMES OFFER

Kris Russell (or Dennis Wideman with retained salary), a prospect (one of Kylington, Andersson or Hickey) and 2017’s first round pick

A POTENTIAL ISLANDERS COUNTER

Russell, at least one prospect (of Kylington, Andersson, Hickey, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk) and 2016’s first round pick (if not also a second or third rounder this year)

SUM IT UP

I really don’t think Hamonic will be a Calgary Flame, if only because the price to get him will be too high for management (and fans) to swallow.

  • SydScout

    If I had my drothers, I would send Backlund and Russell for Hamonic. Backlund is the real value, and Russell gives them a d-man to replace him. Reasoning is that Monahan and Sam are going to be the top 2 centers. No point using Backlund on the 3rd line. Matty can play that. Bring up Grant or Arnold to play 4th line C.

    You would end up with:

    Johnny-Monahan-Jones

    Hudler-Bennett-Frolik

    Ferland-Stajan-Jooris

    Colborne-Grant-Bollig

    Gio-Hamonic

    Brodie-Hamilton

    Engelland-Wideman

    You still have Wideman to sell off at TDL or in the summer. Would likely bring back top 6 winger or picks/prospects.

  • DestroDertell

    Can they make a pitch for Hamonic? Sure. They can send Brodie or Hamilton the other way.

    Should they? No. He’s overrated.

    I don’t get why writers on this site use rawCorsi – a coaching/team stat – instead of CF%Rel. Over the past four years, Hamonic has -0.9 CF%Rel. That’s not good for a so-called #2.

    Especially compared to Brodie’s +5.2 CF%Rel or Hamilton’s +3.4 (who is three years younger too). The latter is more expensive, but has one more year left on his current contract. I don’t get anyone would ship Hamilton for him, really. Scoring chances tells the same tale (+2.8 Dougie, +5.4 Brodie, -0.7 Hamonic).

    The only way he compares to these two is that he’s “young” (25 is not even that young), plays on the right side and he plays a similar 20 ES minutes/night. He doesn’t have the same value as those guys.

    Have faith in one of Hickey, Kylington, Kulak, etc to become a top 4 guy and make a pitch for Spurgeon (who is better and would be cheaper to trade for, there we might be able to send Gio the other way).

    • CofRed4Life

      I agree with this. CF%Rel should be used for comparing players on different teams. I think what makes most people excited is the possibility of getting rid of one (or both) of Wideman/Russell. It would also explain why they seem to be getting so many minutes (showcasing). But at the end of the day, I don’t see him coming to Calgary, and I don’t think he’s worth the price Snow is probably asking. I think we have enough guys in the pipeline that will be ready to replace them when their contracts run out (think of Kulak and Nakladal, just to name two).

  • CofRed4Life

    I think it will be down to the Flames and Jets on this one.

    The offer that makes the most sense to me from the Flames would be:

    Wideman(with retained salary)+ Rasmus Andersson + a 2nd round pick.

    If the Isles want a 1st round pick, make it conditional (if the flames finish in a top 7 draft position, the pick moves to 2017)

    That is a great Deal for the Isles. They can fill out there second pairing for another season, they get a great NHL ready prospect, and a pick for insurance and save a little bit of Cap space.

    The Flames finally get that last solid top 4 D, locked up under contract. They could always get their first round pick back by trading Hudler at the deadline.

      • DestroDertell

        This is news to me; It’s well known around the league that he is being shopped by Treliving, he has a No Movement Clause, but I’m sure he would wave it to go to the Islanders.

        • Parallex

          Yeah, I don’t see much of a reason for him to not waive… I mean he’d be going to a team that’s in line to make the playoffs, has a new arena (if he cares about such things), plays in one of the marquee cities, in a division/conference with an easier travel schedule, and it’s closer to home for him.

        • Kevin R

          I am not sure that is well known at all. What I know is that fans have advocated for a trade for over a season. But not once have I heard management say he is being shopped or him saying he would go.

          His salary goes further here generally than it would in NY and especially now with the forex. The only reason to move is a Cup run but he might have done that with Washington for less had he stayed.

          • Kevin R

            It’s been reported by everyone from Friedman, Dreger, Mackenzie and for what it’s worth Francis.

            BT doesn’t have to come out and say it, those things are generally kept confidential. Even Garth Snow was quiet about shopping Hamonic until it was leaked.

            The Flames need a change, and he could easily retain some of Wideman’s salary.

            Generally players have NTC/NMC to avoid going to a crappy team, so going to a team like the Islanders probably wouldn’t be an issue.

            I can’t think of any reason Wideman would want to stay unless it would be for family reasons.

    • piscera.infada

      I do agree that is probably what the Isles will take (I basically stated the exact same deal on another post), but I don’t think Hamonic is worth that deal at all.

      This organization essentially spent an entire draft trying to address their defensive depth, and they were fairly successful. I’m reluctant to spend a large part of the future on a defenseman, that if all goes correctly, will end up playing 3/4 minutes. Personally, I’m not trading Andersson or Kylington at this point. I understand they’re prospects that may not pan out, but their potential intrigues me too much to include them in a package at this point.

      While the defense has admittedly been a soft-spot on the roster in the present, I still think that if this team is to take any giant leaps forward, those are going to come from upgrading the offensive side of the puck. This organization is still a couple of top-6 offensive players away from being able to compete with the big boys. On defense though, I have no doubt that with some schematic changes, and a couple younger pieces, the defense will be poised to capture the form we all think they’re capable of.

      While there is a fit in Calgary for Hamonic, I’m not sure he’s necessarily a need for the organization. At least not at the price it’s likely going to cost. Save the picks for stockpiling young assets–even when this team is “competing” (provided they get there), that’s the pragmatic move.

      • DestroDertell

        That’s a good point, I wouldn’t want to see either of those guys go, because they both look like they will be playing in the NHL soon.

        Maybe the way around that is to package Wideman and Russell together.

      • Kevin R

        So given the disappointing start we had & captain obvious realization this team is still in rebuild. Would you consider the following deal if you were BT, Gio & say Klimchuk for Hamonic & Strome?

        That would take balls. Losing the Captain would be a huge blow to the psyche of this team, a team that is probably missing the playoffs this year.Klimchuk is a decent prospect. But you get a Dman that checks off the age box of really where this rebuilding team is & if you can pry Strome out of them, that would be a huge upgrade over Klimchuk. I realize that key be tough to do & Isanders probably wouldn’t part with Strome if they are taking on Gio’s 6.75Mill but even Okposo in place of Strome could probably make the deal work. A bold move indeed. I just feel after watching Brodie late last year & playoffs & since he’s returned, he is bar none our best defender & future leader.

        • piscera.infada

          Would I consider it? Yes. I was definitely in the ‘trade Gio’ camp in the offseason.

          Would Treliving consider it? Maybe? But I would say it’s because of the inclusion of Strome. The Islanders would never submit that kind of offer. I’m also a lot more bullish on Klimchuk than most–perhaps to a fault, actually.

          All this said though–and I’ve stated this a multitude of times–no matter how much the “correct” move may have been to trade Giordano, or how much I wanted them to from purely a rebuilding-team/asset standpoint, I still think Treliving made the “correct” move in resigning him. It’s very easy for all of us to sit here any say “trade him” because of age and likely decline in play, but we all don’t actually have to make that decision. The simple truth is that Treliving’s job is not done in vacuum. The fact is that Giordano was the face of a team that greatly overachieved last season. Make no mistake, injured or not, Gio was a massive part of that. He was also playing head-and-shoulders above any defenseman in the league prior to his injury last year. Treliving knows that Giordano is not going to keep that level of play throughout that contract, yet he has to balance that against what trading him would signal to fans (that includes a huge number of lay-fans), to his team, and to his bosses.

          That’s a very long-winded (and I’m sorry for that) way of saying, Treliving had a chance to trade Giordano in the offseason, or not extend him, and flip him this season. The fact that he didn’t should signal to everyone that he’s not going to trade him now. The organization has committed to Gio, and Gio has committed to the organization. As much as I or we might pound our fist on the desk about a “bad contract” regarding Giordano, I’m not sure Treliving had much of a choice–and that said, he actually did pretty well with term and dollars. Yes, that contract will likely be tough to swallow in due time. I think everyone (including Treliving) expects that. The deal was never offered to Giordano simply because he’s a good hockey player though. There were numerous other factors at play with that contract extension, and I honestly can’t blame anyone for that.

          In much the same way the Islanders are doing right by Hamonic in this whole situation, we need to realize that professional sports organization cannot always treat their players like the disposable assets that we capriciously discuss.

          • CofRed4Life

            Totally agree. It’s easy for us to forget about the human side of the game. These are people trying to get through life the same as you and me, and sometimes you can’t manage a hockey team (or any kind of organization) without emotions sometimes creeping in.

          • MontanaMan

            Are you serious? I was ecstatic when I saw that contract. We got 2 seasons of Norris level play for 4M. He played like a 9 million dollar dman for those seasons. If he went to FA, he’d easily get 7.5M+ with term. I know GMs are more prudent now, but a top pairing dman is the most coveted position in the league. 6.75M was a team-friendly deal, and 6 years is better than the 8 he could have commanded.

            Just because he’s not at that level for 20 games after an injury and with a new, unfamiliar partner while facing the toughest opponents, you’re saying it’s a bad contract? He’s gonna bounce back to his level of play, just like the rest of the team, and then he’s gonna be worth that 6.75M. And given his late start to his career and low games played relative to his age, there’s a good chance he’ll be top 4 for the entire contract, especially with his fitness levels. Iggy is still producing as a top line forward at age 38, and I see no reason why Gio can’t.

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not arguing any of that. I like the deal, based on what it could have been. I also say that resigning him was the “correct” move when factoring all relevant facts.

            I’m saying that I thought the pragmatic move–based solely on my tastes–would have been to trade him in the offseason for what likely could have netted you ridiculous assets. He could very well stay a top-4 defenseman for the duration of that contract, but that’s not a bet I would personally hedge.

            That all tolled. I’m happy he’s here, and I’m very happy Treliving was able to get relative value on the contract. I fully expect his play to rebound as well. I just personally think you could have addressed several long-term needs with a trade.

            As I said so many times before the extension was actually signed: it’s a very tough deal. And as I said in my post, it was all a very long-winded way for me to say “the Flames are not trading Giordano for Hamonic”.