Should The Blackhawks Go After Travis Hamonic?

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.

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?

57 thoughts on “Should The Blackhawks Go After Travis Hamonic?

  1. Because some folks on Facebook/Twitter have brought up Hamonic’s reported desire to be “closer to home” on a Western Conference team, here’s a brief geographic study in how far NHL cities/metro areas are from Hamonic’s hometown in Manitoba:

    Vancouver – 1,472 miles
    Edmonton – 875 miles
    Calgary – 860 miles
    Chicago – 843 miles
    Minneapolis – 435 miles
    Winnipeg – 45 miles

  2. I bet we’d be hard pressed to find ANY NHL player who wouldn’t want to play in Chicago. The team notwithstanding, it’s a travel hub and a guy can get pretty much anywhere in a reasonable period of time. He’s a good young player and no doubt a lot of teams will be or are interested.

  3. Maybe there is a three-way deal in the works. Daley to Ottawa for the second rounder and Prince/Puempel then move P/P plus a defence prospect (Svedberd) to the Isles for Hamonic.

  4. Yeah…. NO. No to everything.

    I have a problem with this notion of “with the emergence of Artemi Panarin and promotion of Marko Dano recently”. What Dano promotion ? Or better said… does anyone see it as a promotion ?

    And this idea that “Teravainen has found himself fighting for minutes on special teams and trying to generate offense with the Hawks’ bottom six forwards”.
    Like 4th line production is useless. Like Shaw, Tuevo, Kruger are 3 bums who, just because they play bottom line they’re expandable and inferior to Marko Dano because the latter got a ‘promotion’. Shaw is 5 times a better player than Dano at this stage. Just because he plays 4th line…that doesn’t make him a worst player.

    It makes no sense whatsoever. Neither does the the TVR part. Why in the hell would anyone trade TVR for Hamonic ?

    I’m not even going into the cap situation and the questions about why the Dman is on the market in the first place. It’s not like the Isles are big on their D depth.

    PS: Talking in general…. instead of using resources (draft picks, prospects) to trade for players, the common sense approach would be to use those resources in order to entice somebody to take on Bickell and his cap space (this year and next year).

  5. Not sure (1) how they fit his cap hit in this season, (2) how he fits within the salary cap structure beyond 2016/17, and (3) what the Hawks have to trade that the Islanders want and couldn’t be beaten by the other teams on his list.

    Not to mention that Chicago may not even be on his list.

    And then there’s the fact he is a right shot and the Hawks are short on LDs (especially if they trade Daley). Plus – just how good is Hamonic? Is he really worth a King’s ransom and the havoc his contract will play with the current salary cap structure?

    Seems highly unlikely on multiple fronts to me.

  6. Immediate return is great. But what’s given up is too much. Both in players and cap. TVR over the next 2+ years is incredible value if healthy. Good chance Hossa and Shaw will be gone by the end of next summer. If a trade involves Shaw and Daley with Svedberg or possibly Hartman I would certainly contemplate it. Im hesitant to trade any of Teuvo, Dano, Pokka, Gustafsson. I think they can get better value elsewhere if the Hawks hang onto those players. Maybe trading Chara is still fresh and they are keen on Svedberg?

    In any event the Hawks already have a “hammer”

  7. The complexity on a deal is too much. I don’t see this having any sea legs for the Hawks.

    But I do think the Hawks are very anxious to unload Daley. I can’t see anybody giving us much in return. Hell, I can’t see anybody wanting Daley period. His negatives are profound.

  8. That really tightens up the top 4. For the next few years. If there is a deal to be had that isn’t outrageous then it is something to think about. Calgary has some pieces on the blue line they could swap with NYI but they’re a shit show right now.

  9. FWIW the report said he wanted to be closer to his family in Western Canada. Perhaps immigration is an issue as none of the teams he requested are in the states. Despite US teams being closer to St. Malo than other Canadian teams.

  10. Not interested in using either TVR or Tevo in a trade for a defenseman. If they want a guy like that they have to take Bickel too. Even if Tevo doesn’t seem to have a roll right now that can change in a heartbeat as hockey teams do get hit by injuries (see Kaner last year) and need guys that are ready to step in with quality minutes.

  11. Good column Tab. Excellent research on the mileage.

    Question, and I am just throwing this out there, not passing any judgment. Hamonic certainly has a right to ask his employer to move him.

    However, if Hamonic wants to be close to home, because of a personal situation, couldn’t dozens of other players say the same thing for one reason or another that might be family related ?

    Furthermore, would the Hawks want to acquire a player who has pretty much told his boss his mind is elsewhere and hockey, while a great job/career, is not his top priority right now ?

    Again, Not trying to be insensitive and not saying he does not deserve to have his situation addressed delicately, but I am wondering since the Hawks are in the hockey business and the business of winning the Stanley Cup if they really want to get involved in this.

  12. Craig Nigrelli
    You raise excellent points and a great argument as well. Those were some of the questions I had too. (It must be the reporter coming out in you.) The bottom line is, who is to say that a move to a western team really is going to fix what it is that makes him want to move from a team he claims has been great to him? If it is not the fix, then what? Not sure I make a deal, unless it’s on the cheap. Too risky in my opinion.

  13. It’s interesting how Mr. CAPLOCK and EXCLAMATION POINT !!!!!!! likes to say, “..and Bowman understands this…” “…and Q understands this…” Making believe that the Blackhawks brass agrees with your overstated points of view does not make them any less redundant or even remotely true.

  14. Rufus is omniscient–he has the ability to divine the unspoken thoughts of others.

    Soon enough he will tell us what Teuvo “knows” and what Harmonic “understands.”

  15. I also believe that if there’s somebody who can trade Teravainen and his 1M cap for a million dollar 1st line LW or stud Dman…that’s Bowman.

    And here we are again back to the roots. Trade Tuevo for Seth Jones… Stan. You can do it. It isn’t rocket science.

  16. So does that make Rufus is the most interesting man in the world

    I wonder if he also aced the Rorschach test?

  17. Back on topic, I am sure the Hawks are not on Hamonic’s list because of discussions with Leddy. I am sure Leddy left here with a sour taste in his mouth about the way he feels Q treated him. I am sure that was shared on Long Island with Hamonic.

    Teuvo doesn’t fit because we don’t have the right players around him. Last year, he was playing with Sharp and Vermette in the playoffs and they were one of our better lines. Trade him? Why? Using that line of thinking, I guess you trade Toews because he also is not fitting in with the players around him so far this year. Very skewed rationale. The line of thinking should be to surround great talent with the right players.

    Many here were dogging Sharpie last year about his lack of production. He was getting less minutes and playing on lower lines. This year he is on the top line with Dallas and his production is up. He regained nothing because he never lost it in the first place. He is getting more minutes and playing with better talent.

    Let’s look at the overall picture before overreacting and trading great skill. Skilled talents like Teuvo are not readily available.

  18. I don’t think Chicago is off Hamonic’s list because of Leddy. Hamonic plays a different game than Daley and Leddy. Not dissimilar from Oduya.

    I think Chicago is off his list because we’re not in Canada. As was shown on Tab’s list, a couple US cities are closer than the ones that he listed. Why? Just speculating, but whatever he has going on he feels that the border will be an issue.

    He requested this trade in the summer. Snow apparently tried to make a deal but couldn’t. Im curious if the original request was made before the Oilers signed Sekera. It sounds like the Isles would be willing to take crap back if the return is there. And the return apparently doesn’t need to be a defenseman. They have Pulock in Bridgeport. Pulock along with the additions of Leddy and Boychuk made Reinhart expendable.

    Why or how is this coming out now? They kept this quiet for this long. The Isles don’t gain anything. If anything his value goes down. Hamonic has said he could wait until summer. I don’t necessarily buy that. If a trade was sought, why would the Isles admit he wanted out to other GMs? Have a feeling this is coming from the Hamonic camp in an effort to spur this along.

    I hope he just misses his family. From the sound of it and the support he has from his teammates, I don’t think that’s the case.

  19. Good analysis Booman. Teuvo belongs on one of the top two lines. He will not flourish until he is placed with players that are skilled finishers.

  20. Thanks Martin.

    A report circulating tonight indicated that Edmonton is likely interested. There is a precedent there with Griffin Reinhardt traded at the draft from NYI to Edmonton. So Chiarelli and Snow have a bit of recent history. Edmonton also has lots of pieces to make a “hockey” trade whereas many of Stan’s recent moves have been dictated by the cap.

    I find it interesting that Snow wants so-called equal value in return. He’s negotiating from a position of relative weakness now that the rest of the league knows that Hamonic wants out. Add to that, every game that Hamonic plays is a bit of a risk. What if he gets hurt ? Doesn’t he then just go back to Western Canada to deal with this personal situation, until the injury heals, as opposed to sitting around Brooklyn waiting to heal ?

    Snow is in a bit of a tight spot. He got loads of accolades for landing Leddy and Boychuk last year, let’s see how he handles this one.

    I must say it is very interesting.

  21. re: “Teuvo belongs on one of the top two lines. He will not flourish until he is placed with players that are skilled finishers.”

    Bowman believes he’s a center. Are you bumping Toews or Anisimov to the bottom two lines to accommodate Teuvo?
    As has been noted here on more than one occasion, Teuvo is better at right wing. Are you bumping Kane or Hossa to the bottom two lines to accommodate Teuvo?

    In a vacuum, absolutely Teuvo is a top six forward. But when he’s the third-best player at his two best positions on the team, that generally indicates he’s a third line player.

    Which is a tremendous problem to have. Andrew Ladd was a third line player here. He’s gone on to do some nice things in Winnipeg.

    But to force a square peg into a round hole is naive. The guys around Teuvo need to produce (looks directly at Shaw).

  22. Totally agree with Tab re. TT. RTF is basically saying the same thing. TT very talented, but needs to fit on the 3rd line right now.

    Wish list: First line LW is solidified. Third line around TT as possible RW, not center starts clicking. Daley gets traded and Gustafsson gets a chance in his place.

  23. I agree with Bowman that long term TT is a center. He posses great vision, has excellent passing skills and is a solid two way player. He does appear to be better on the right side but his sample size on the left side is small. The first line is not scoring and Toews looks frustrated to me. I would give TT 10 games as left wing with Hossa and Toews. If that did not work and the first line continued to struggle I would think about moving Kane to the first line and putting TT on the right side on the second line. That would mean moving Dano back to left wing on the 1st line and moving Hossa down to the third line. We need more than one line that can score. Long term I see TT as the second line center.

  24. Is there any chance the Hawks could acquire Vermette again at the trade deadline. Or do I have better odds playing the lotto?

  25. If TT is to stay on the 3rd line temporarily at least move Kero up to 3rd line center with Shaw on the left side. I love Kruger but he is just not a scorer. Kero has more offensive potential than Kruger. If Shaw continues to struggle offensively give Tikhonov or one of the Rockford boys another look and move Shaw to 4rth line.

  26. Like the idea of 65 as LW, Kero as center, and TT as RW on the 3rd line. Leave that together for 10 games!

  27. Lots of stuff being thrown around that third line. Dano and Teuvo are similar in that ideally they are either RW or C. This team lacks a LW and when Teuvo has played it with Kane he has produced. Q has a reluctance to put him with Toews and Hossa and I’m not really sure why.

    This team lacks LW’s. due to necsessity and rather unforeseen circumstances, they were forced to dump their 2 best in Sharp and Saad. That would cripple most teams. Also, their 3rd LW from last year has been well lets call it absent. So now theyre left trying to teach young kids on the fly how to play a position not natural to them. Based on memory, I think Kero has been good at the dot so this next question may be moot. But any thought to Dano playing Center? Gotta say, its nice not having to whine about 2c any more….Thank you Brandon Saad!

    Let’s perform a little exercise. Forgetting recent history. Forgetting salary. If I told you the Hawks had a natural LW in the minors that had some size and has 8 points in 5 games. We’d all be screaming to put him with Toews and Hossa. My guess is the Hawks hope he can keep scoring in Rockford so he regains some value. This team has been forced to play with out 2 of their top 6 from last year. Do that to any other team and see what happens.

  28. Glad to see Bickell doing well. Hope that encourages some team to bite. He deserves another chance…. Hopefully elsewhere!

  29. This circus road trip comes at a good time because generally the Hawks don’t make any player moves – they come back with the same players on the roster that they left with. And that’s probably the best course of action to take at this time – don’t do anything right now. Leave Dano at 1LW and give him time to settle in. Give Daley and Rozy more than 3 games with each other before declaring them deficient. When TT comes back, leave him at 3RW and don’t change line mates.

    Use the remaining 5 games on this road trip to let the team gel. Then make an assessment if trades need to be done.

    Regarding TT – he may be a center somewhere down the road but it doesn’t seem he’s physically ready now or anytime soon. Look no farther than the 2RW to see what a playmaker can do without player center. TT at RW is just fine for now and if it means he has to be on the 3rd line – then so be it. He needs to grow physically and in experience. Put him at 3RW and LEAVE HIM THERE. Stop messing with the guy by moving him all over the lineup.

  30. Reality: Trevor Daley is a defenseman who scored 16 goals last year and averaged 22 minutes per night. In a market desperate for defensemen, there will be someone intrigued by Daley. He just happens to be a terrible fit in Chicago.

  31. No Dano on the lines at morning skate ahead of Friday night’s action. Shaw at LW1 again. Teravainen out injured, so we’ll see both Tikhonov & Desjardins back in the mix.

    Also of note, the IceHogs have signed forward Josh Brittain to a PTO.

  32. Vermette sure stepped up big time in the playoffs Pete. Without his dominance at the dot and those OT goals we may not have won the Cup. I do not see how we would have the money for him.

  33. Josh Brittain is a soon to be 26 year old LW who was a 3rd round pick of Anaheim a number of years ago … he attended Rockford’s training camp and was playing in Indianapolis … big guy who plays tough, always has been a high penalty minute guy.

    I will have the Ice Hogs on tonight and will listen to see what Bob Mills has to say about the lineup. Ryan Haggerty is still injured and I wonder if Kyle Baun has been banged up. Bringing in a LW on a PTO tells me someone else down there might be cut loose … Mike Liambas has barely played and Daniel Paille’s PTO doesn’t have too many more games left – he’s been scratched a few times and doesn’t have a point this season.

    This Brittain guy is a fringe AHL’er but it could signal some player movement with the Ice Hogs.

  34. Two things:

    1) implausible- He explicitly wants to go to a Western Canadian team. This is obviously not just about proximity of the destination team (or it would be Winnipeg or bust), but also about distance of travel. If he goes to Van, Edm, or Cal, he will actually be closer to home more often than if he were to go to a Central Division team.

    2) undesirable- We currently have too many defensmen that are NHL worthy. 2 very good ones are sitting in the Rock right now in favor of 2 bad players (Rozy and Rundblad). And to be honest, he’s not that much better than TVR once you adjust for the lesser East.

  35. What’s another word for can’t read or use Google maps? I’ve outlined the mileage from his home town and shown that Chicago is closer than Vancouver, Edmonton & Winnipeg. Sorry, but wrong on point one.

    to the “undesirable” point – I laughed. If you truly believe Hamonic isn’t that much better than TvR you have never watched him play.

  36. to Hof’s comments about the LWs in Rockford – it is indeed intriguing that they would add another one – especially w/ Bickell down there (for now)… Odds are Paille doesn’t hang around after his PTO w/out a spot opening up in Chicago any time soon and Liambas (as Hof notes) hasn’t been anything. Depth move? Perhaps. But any time part of the organization adds depth it’s worth noting.

  37. I personally don’t think Hamonic is that much better than Trevor van Riesmdyk.
    Of course, he has 350 NHL games played while TVR has 40, so there a big difference of experience and tape there, but I don’t see that much of a difference on the ice.

    They key question is… would you take TVR + $3M cap space or Harmonic ? I take TVR and the money, as probably any GM out there who gives a damn about cap space and value.

  38. But having Hamonic and Hammer as a 2nd d pairing and bumping TvR back if he can be kept….that makes you salivate just a little right?

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