On Wednesday afternoon, Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet reported that the New York Islanders are shopping defenseman Travis Hamonic.
As Friedman notes:
There’s a ton to like about this player. He’s a right-hand shot, top-pairing defenceman with four years remaining on a good-value contract. The average annual amount is $3.857 million, although the actual dollars will be $4.875 million beginning in 2016-17. Teams are scared by term these days, but there’s less worry about someone signed to a fair deal during his prime years.
And Hamonic does phenomenal things off the ice.
His father, Gerald, died when Travis was a young boy. As a result, he invites children who’ve been through similar pain to Islanders’ games as his guest. (This work was illustrated in a tremendous 2014 ESPN feature).
The Blackhawks have reportedly been looking to add a quality defenseman for some time, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reported in early October. Hamonic, 25, would be a terrific addition for all of the reasons Friedman outlined above.
Hamonic reportedly has some preferences in the Western Conference.
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
Dreger went on to tweet that Islanders GM Garth Snow wants an equitable player in return. Ken Campbell at The Hockey News looked at some potential Hamonic deals on Thursday. In it, he outlines why a number of teams that appear to be on Hamonic’s preferred list of destinations would want him, and what they might give up to land the talented defenseman.
Lots of names thrown around, from Jordan Eberle to Jacob Trouba.
With the Hawks looking to add a defenseman, and reports that there may be interest in Trevor Daley, could Chicago make a deal for Hamonic?
And, if they did, what would it take?
GM Stan Bowman dealt away the team’s second round pick (to get Kimmo Timonen) in an effort to bolster the roster for a Stanley Cup run last spring. But he has two picks in the fourth and fifth rounds in the upcoming draft; he acquired a fourth from Columbus in the Brandon Saad trade this summer, and picked up Florida’s fifth for Brandon Pirri.
But mid- to late-round picks aren’t getting a player the caliber of Hamonic. Not alone.
If the Islanders want a defenseman in return, they’ve clearly enjoyed doing business with the Blackhawks in the past (see Leddy, Nick). It’s hard to imagine Snow considering Daley adequate return on the blue line in a deal for Hamonic, however.
A prospect like Erik Gustafsson or Viktor Svedberg might be in play. The other top name on the blue line in Rockford, Ville Pokka, was acquired from the Islanders in the Leddy deal.
The bigger question is whether or not the Blackhawks would consider including a young NHL roster player in a deal for Hamonic.
Teuvo Teravainen, still just 21, continues to be viewed as a center by the organization but has been floating between left and right wing for most of the young season. With the emergence of Artemi Panarin and promotion of Marko Dano recently, Teravainen has found himself fighting for minutes on special teams and trying to generate offense with the Hawks’ bottom six forwards most nights.
If the Hawks brought in Hamonic, that might be enough for the Hawks to consider making defenseman Trevor van Riemdsdyk available.
Bowman has shown a willingness to include young players in deals to get “the right guy” over the last few years. Klas Dahlbeck was included in the Vermette deal while Stephen Johns and Michael Paliotta in the summer deals that moved Patrick Sharp and Saad, respectively. Bowman has also recycled prospects who were highly regarded to get younger in the pipeline; he traded Adam Clendening to Vancouver for Gustav Forsling.
Hamonic is a tremendous player. But is the price right for the Hawks to make a deal?