In a bombshell report from a widely trusted reporter, the New York Islanders are said to be attempting to work out a trade of Travis Hamonic.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted the report, which of course had all parties -- general manager, agent and player -- either declining to comment or in Hamonic's case not yet being reached for comment. But other execs and sources would talk to Friedman about the situation, without being named:
"The problem with them trading Travis Hamonic," one exec said, "is they want… Travis Hamonic."
Several sources indicate Snow is not interested in a picks or prospects type of return. He’s looking for equal-level replacement.
That’s reason No. 1 this hasn’t happened yet. There aren’t a lot of these players available.
It's not clear whether the Isles or Hamonic initiated whatever is behind this, though the subtle context of the story (e.g. "The exact reasons are private," and it's called "maneuvering a delicate situation") makes it sound like Hamonic is the driving force.
You can muse for a few reasons it might be the other way around, as Johnny Boychuk is truly the top-pair blueliner on the right side, the Isles have Ryan Pulock waiting in the wings, and the term of Hamonic's contract could collide with some contracts coming due for unrestricted free agent forwards.
Darren Dreger of TSN, however, adds to the report and says this is basically a Hamonic request to move closer to home:
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
The Isles certainly appreciate him on and off the ice enough to have signed him to a seven-year contract extension in 2013. So it sounds like general manager Garth Snow is both careful -- reluctant, even? -- to make a deal and determined to wait until they get equal value. Which could take a while. Knowing Hamonic's sense of loyalty, you'd expect that if he has made a request, he'd also have the patience to soldier on until the right move came available.
But now that this report is out, it's going to be a frequent topic and distraction for the team. No avoiding that.
UPDATE: Arthur Staple of Newsday reports Hamonic will address the topic with teammates, then media:
Hamonic declined comment tonight. He will address situation with his teammates tomorrow, then media.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) November 18, 2015