Elliotte Friedman broke the news on Wednesday afternoon that the New York Islanders are attempting to deal defenseman Travis Hamonic, at Hamonic’s request. Darren Dreger then filled in some of the grey area by stating that a family situation in western Canada has Hamonic wanting a deal to one of a few specific teams.
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
Any team with a chance to acquire Hamonic should be knocking down the Islanders’ door to see if there is a deal to be had here. Hamonic is a 25 year old defenseman capable of carrying a heavy workload. Perhaps most important is that he’s under club control through 2019-20 at a cap hit of $3.857 million.
Thanks to the great work of Money Puck over at Canucks Army, we know that Hamonic is currently in the prime of his career and his skills aren’t likely to go into any sort of troubling decline until after his current contract expires.
Not only is Hamonic in the prime of his career, he’s a good player in the prime of his career.
Here’s a look at Hamonic’s HERO chart, encompassing the past three seasons:
His HERO chart suggests that Hamonic might be a little over slotted with the top pair minutes he’s been receving from the Isles, but that he’s certainly a solid top-four option. And, given the fact that his cap hit is so modest, if a team wanted to slot him in on their second pairing, they wouldn’t be overpaying for his services.
While sample size caveats apply, there’s also reason to believe that Hamonic, who is already a good player, has shown growth in his game so far in 2015-16.
When looking at his entire career, there’s reason to believe that 2014-15 was just a blip for Hamonic in terms of some metrics, particularly possession-based ones. But he is off to the strongest start of his career in many of those same areas in 2015-16.
After posting a career high in goals, assists, and point last season, Hamonic has just three assists to his name in 2015-16 entering play on Wednesday night. However, some of this can be attributed to the fact that the Isles are only shooting 6.8 percent with him on the ice. Additionally, Hamonic’s individual point percentage has never been below 27.1 percent over an 82 game season, but currently sits at 16.7 percent in 2015-16. So, Hamonic’s box car stats will look a bit better once the Isles see some better puck luck with him on the ice and his IPP normalizes a bit.
It’s not often that a defenseman, capable of handling top-four minutes, in the prime of his career, and under team control for multiple seasons at a team-friendly cap hit appears on the trade market. And there’s a reason for that: these types of players are really valuable. Hamonic is no exception. Any team that has the ability to acquire him should be working hard at seeing if there is a deal that makes sense to acquire him.