According to Elliotte Friedman, defenseman Travis Hamonic of the New York Islanders is available in a trade. This isn’t a drill, people. THIS ISN’T A DRILL.
You can see the original piece by Friedman here. Word from Friedman, who is among the most respected journalists in hockey, is that the exact reasons for Hamonic’s desire to be traded are personal. As such, we can only guess as to why he would want to leave the Islanders. However, from the perspective of the Oilers, the reasons why he wants to leave don’t really matter.
As far as the Oilers are concerned, a solution to one of their biggest problems just became available.
Travis Hamonic is a 25-year old, right shooting, defenseman for the Islanders who logs the most minutes on their team. Drafted in the 2nd round, 53rd overall, Hamonic had some draft pedigree before eventually rising to be the ice-time leader for his club. After his WHL career was over, Hamonic graduated to the AHL where he spent just 19 games in 2010-2011 before becoming a NHL regular.
Hamonic has been heavily used by the Islanders for several years but the last two he has been their TOI/G leader. Right now he is averaging 23:20 per game for the Islanders. This year, he is playing a little more than 20 minutes a night at even strength. He isn’t getting a huge push from special teams, but he is the team’s go-to player by a pretty wide margin 5v5.
Hamonic isn’t widely known as an offensive player, but he did pick up 33 points last year and was 21st among NHL defensemen in points per 60 minutes at 5v5 with 1.06/60 in 2014-2015.
If you’re looking for more fancystats, this year Hamonic is leading the Islander defense in Corsi for percentage with 52.8% (per stats.hockeyanalysis.com). This number is far and away superior to the rest of the blue line on that same Islanders team. The year previous, however, he was among the worst regular Islander defenders in CF%, though that might have been due to his time spent paired with Brian Strait.
From the perspective of salary cap he’s a great addition to any club if he can keep giving you 20+ minutes a night. He has 5 years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of less than $3.9 million per season.
From the seat on my couch, this is obviously a player the Oilers need to pursue.
Friedman reports that the Islanders would be looking for an equal level replacement. The Oilers probably don’t have that player exactly and the phone gets hung up when the names Klefbom or Nurse get mentioned. However, Justin Schultz is a right-shooting ice-time leader in his mid-twenties as well.
In addition to the ice-time, age, and handedness, Schultz is also a player with a similar cap hit ($3.9 million and an RFA next year). As all deals in the NHL have to balance the money-in and money-out, these two players are very compatible.
Could a deal between the two clubs be centered around Schultz? Maybe.
They aren’t equal value but perhaps that’s where the conversation can start. Deals can grow, shrink, or move in unexpected directions but first they have to start. This is a player the Oilers have to try to shake loose.
If truly available then Hamonic might be the right handed defender this club needs. He’s young, plays a tonne, is signed long term to a good deal, and happens to occupy the exact position the Oilers are weak in. Perhaps Justin Schultz isn’t the player going back the other way, but let’s not give away the farm for a player who has requested a trade. It isn’t the Oilers who are in a bad spot here.