CHICAGO — The Islanders didn’t make a trade on Friday, despite word earlier that defenseman Travis Hamonic was on the block and in high demand.
Reports and league sources confirmed that Isles GM Garth Snow was seeking two first-round picks in exchange for Hamonic and several teams, most notably the Flames and Leafs, had interest.
But no team met Snow’s high asking price as the first round of the draft unfolded Friday night. Calgary and Toronto picked 16th and 17th, right after the Isles would have picked had they not dealt their first-rounder to Vegas on Wednesday.
That package included Mikhail Grabovski’s $5 million salary-cap hit, a 2019 second-round pick and a prospect to have Vegas select goaltender J-F Berube. That move set the stage for Thursday’s trade in which the Isles acquired forward Jordan Eberle from the Oilers for Ryan Strome.
Even with that move to upgrade the team’s offense, Snow still had interest in Avalanche center Matt Duchene and had an offer on the table of Hamonic, the Isles’ 2018 first-round pick and a prospect. But Snow would not include 20-year-old center Mathew Barzal in any offer and Avs GM Joe Sakic said Friday night during the draft he had cooled on the idea of trading Duchene given there were no offers to his liking.
Hamonic, who just received the NHL Foundation Player Award for his charitable contributions during his seven seasons with the Islanders, had resigned himself to a coming deal, according to sources. He had a roller-coaster 2015-16, having requested a trade closer to his Winnipeg home during that season’s training camp because of a private family matter.
The trade request went public against his and the team’s wishes that November and Hamonic had a strong season. He rescinded the request after the end of the year, but had an injury-plagued and subpar 2016-17 and now, with three seasons remaining at a very affordable $3.857-million cap hit, he’s the most attractive trade chip Snow has in a league that covets defensemen.
But with the first round passing by and no deal in place, Snow may need to reset his asking price on Saturday’s second day of the draft — or else put Hamonic on the roller-coaster once again if the Isles choose to keep him.
Capuano to Florida. Former Islanders coach Jack Capuano was hired Friday as associate coach of the Panthers. Capuano was fired on Jan. 17 after seven seasons behind the Islanders bench. He joins new Florida head coach Bob Boughner’s staff after Capuano was the runner-up for the Vegas job that went to former Panthers coach Gerard Gallant.