Sources: Islanders trying to accommodate Travis Hamonic's trade request
Travis Hamonic requested a trade from the Islanders before the start of this season and the Islanders have been attempting to accommodate his request, two sources confirmed to Newsday. Sportsnet first reported the news of a possible Hamonic deal Wednesday.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow declined to comment on the report and Hamonic declined to comment through a team spokesman, who said Hamonic would address the situation after Thursday's practice and once he had a chance to speak to his Islanders teammates.
Snow has been talking to numerous NHL GMs since Hamonic surprised him with the trade request before the season began. "Personal reasons" were cited for the request by the 25-year-old defenseman, a Winnipeg native who lost his father at age 10 and has close family ties to his home city.
Hamonic would prefer to be either in Winnipeg or western Canada, but there are no assurances that Snow will be able to find the right fit -- or make a deal at all this season.
Complicating a trade is gauging Hamonic's value in a deal. He is in the third year of a team-friendly, seven-year deal with an average annual value of $3.875 million and has played major minutes as the cornerstone defenseman of the team.
Hamonic's hometown Jets have a couple of appealing righthanded defensemen, but Dustin Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent and 21-year-old Jacob Trouba is not as developed as Hamonic.
"They're not just going to give him away," one source said, adding that Snow is seeking a commensurate return -- an established top-four defenseman, not prospects and/or draft picks. "He's their best defenseman."
Hamonic was a 2008 second-round pick and quickly became a regular on the Islanders' blue line, coming up to the team after only 19 AHL games in the 2010-11 season.
He's the longest-tenured defenseman on the roster and has been an emotional leader of the team for several years. The knee injury he suffered in the next-to-last game of the regular season in April seriously hurt the Islanders in their seven-game playoff series loss to the Caps.
With news of the trade request breaking Wednesday and Hamonic forced to address his teammates and the media Thursday, Snow may now need to accelerate his search for a trade partner.