By: Leo Scaglione Jr., Pinch-Hitting For the Maven
It was their trade with the Calgary Flames in which they dealt 26-year-old defenseman Travis Hamonic and a fourth-round pick in either 2019 or 2020 to Calgary in exchange for a Flames’ 2018 first-round pick, a 2018 second-round pick and another second-round pick in either 2019 or 2020 (which associates with the fourth-round pick the Islanders select to send to Calgary).
Hamonic, drafted 53rd overall in 2008, patrolled the Islanders’ blue line for seven seasons and totaled 146 points (26 goals, 120 assists) in 444 games. His best season came in 2014-15 when he notched 33 points (five goals, 28 assists) in 71 contests. Unfortunately, it came to an abrupt end in the season’s penultimate game due to a lower-body injury, forcing him to miss the season finale and all seven Stanley Cup playoff games.
This past season, in which Hamonic was limited to 49 games due to various injuries, he totaled 14 points (three goals, 11 assists).
In his NHL postseason career, Hamonic scored one goal and added three assists in 17 matches across the 2013 and 2016 playoff seasons.
Islanders General Manager Garth Snow cited the club’s budding defensive prospects as one reason for the move.
“Travis is a player we drafted and developed in our system,” Snow said. “I wish him nothing but the best of luck. For us, we have a lot of depth on our blue line and (the trade) is going to give some of our younger defensemen some playing time. We are really confident in that position moving forward.”
Being able to stockpile draft picks that will allow the Islanders to make more moves was another reason for the deal.
“This was a situation that we felt we could capitalize on by bringing in some assets, whether we use those in a future draft or we use them as currency in a future player transaction,” Snow said. “It’s a good luxury for our organization to have.”
Prior to the 2015-16 season, Hamonic requested a trade due to family matters to be closer to his hometown of St. Malo, Manitoba, just outside of Winnipeg. Following the season, in an emotional press conference, Hamonic revealed that he had rescinded the request.
Even though that’s ancient history, this trade will allow Hamonic to be closer to home.
“I think he’s in a good place to play and for his family, and the Islanders got a solid return,” Snow said. “It’s a win-win for both teams.”
The move, of course, caused a stir of emotions for Snow and the Islanders, as Hamonic has been one of the club’s heart and soul players since he first donned the blue, white and orange.
“Travis might be old enough where I should say he’s like a son to me, but he’s definitely a little brother,” Snow stated. “I think the world of him on and off the ice.”
Hamonic also had a major community presence on Long Island, which earlier this week earned him the 2017 NHL Foundation Player Award, which recognizes “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
The NHL Foundation presents $25,000 to the winner’s chosen charitable organization; Hamonic picked the Islanders Children’s Foundation, in support of his D-Partner Program, which he started to honor his dad who died when he was 10 years old.
Through his D-Partner program, Hamonic bonded with children who lost a parent at a young age by providing VIP treatment at Islanders games as well as postgame meet-and-greets.
The blueliner also served as an event ambassador for the Children’s Wish Foundation since 2010, was involved with numerous Islanders’ community events, and worked with local bereavement organizations such as Center for Hope, COPE, Answer the Call, Tuesday’s Children, Hospice Care Network and more.
“It was well-deserved for him to win the award in Vegas the other night,” Snow concluded. “Travis is a first class player and a first class person. These deals are always tough to do because there’s an emotional element with how he is in our community and in our locker room.”