Noel Fogelman The Hockey Writers
The Ramifications Of Travis Hamonic’s Decision
Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic has rescinded his trade request he made prior to the start of the season and will remain with the team. This certainly softens the blow of New York getting eliminated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning. It also changes the way general manager Garth Snow goes about his perhaps make-or-break offseason.
Hamonic’s decision now leaves the Islanders defensive corp is solid hands. Lets be honest, Snow was not going to get equal value for Hamonic. It’s the main reason why Hamonic remained with the team entire season. The 25-year-old carries a very team friendly $3.857 million dollar cap hit for the next four seasons. Hamonic took another step forward this regular season and has played his best hockey the past two seasons. Kudos to Snow for not making a rash decision like a former New York Islanders general manager would have done.
The Isles depth now goes eight deep. The six (Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey and Ryan Pulock) that played in Game 5 against the Lightning will likely be the six that open the 2016-17 season. Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield will be the depth defensemen. Marek Zidlicky and Brian Strait are both unrestricted free agents and will not be back. Snow can leave the defensemen alone now. It’s the deepest it has been in years.
A Hamonic trade would have likely brought in a first-line forward to play alongside John Tavares, or at worse, a top-six forward. Snow now has to shift focus to the free-agent market…or does he?
The Manitoba native’s trade request was limited to Western Canada, where the likely destinations were to be Edmonton or Winnipeg. Snow has worked with Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli before. When Chiarelli was the general manager of the Boston Bruins, he traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders for three draft picks. One of his first moves as the newly-hired Oilers general manager was acquiring Isles prospect Griffin Reinhart at the draft for the 16th overall pick (Mathew Barzal) and the 33rd overall pick. New York used the 33rd pick to move back into the first round and selected Anthony Beauvillier. On second thought, Chiarelli may not want to take Snow’s calls.
All kidding aside, the Oilers do need defensemen. Now that Hamonic is off the table and if the Islanders feel Adam Pelech is ready to play full time, they could look to make Calvin de Haan available. The 2009 12th overall pick had a solid regular season but struggled a bit during the playoffs. de Haan became a shot-blocking machine, ranking fourth in the league with 198. The 25-year-old has one year left with a $1.967 million dollar cap hit before he becomes a restricted free agent. Snow could offer the Oilers de Haan and their first round pick for Jordan Eberle. Snow could also take it a step further and offer de Haan, their first-round pick and one of their prospects, perhaps Michael Dal Colle for Taylor Hall. Either one of the two would be a huge upgrade to what Tavares has been playing with. Eberle and Hall both have $6 million dollar cap hits. Eberle has three years left, while Hall has four years left.
July 1st Awaits?
If Snow cannot find a trade partner, he will have to wait until the calendar hits July. The unrestricted free-agent market is not too deep. There is a big dropout after Steven Stamkos. Garth Snow should do everything in his power to make a run at Stamkos. Franchise players like Stamkos rarely hit the market. The success of the Tampa Bay Lightning without Stamkos has pretty much sealed the deal on him going elsewhere. The price would certainly be high, north of ten million dollars annually. He is well worth it. The forwards behind Stamkos include David Backes, Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson and Andrew Ladd. Although the team is in good shape cap wise, they will have to shed some salary in order to bring in Stamkos. They might look to buy out Mikhail Grabovski if he is cleared medically or he could chose to retired. If Grabvoski retire, all of the ten million dollars he is due the next two seasons will come off the books.
With new ownership in place on July 1st, this could be the last offseason for Snow. He cannot sell to the fanbase a Dal Colle or Barzal right now, or even worse a one-year retread like a Brad Boyes or P.A. Parenteau replacing Kyle Okposo.
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