Given that the targeted teams represent three or four of Canada's seven NHL representatives, the Travis Hamonic trade watch will not leave the front burner of continental hockey news any time soon.
Once news of the request -- which both player and team kept quiet for at least six weeks -- became public, the speculation over which team was a right match hit overdrive. But there's one wrinkle: If the Isles have been looking for a deal for so long with no result...maybe the way out of this is a more complex transaction.
That's the speculation from Hockey Night in Canada and Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, who first reported the request Wednesday night:
"A lot of people would not be surprised if this turned into a three-way trade," Friedman said.
Damien Cox of HNIC stepped in to say the Calgary Flames are both very interested in Hamonic but also won't be trading their most perfect match, T.J. Brodie.
And that, really, is the source of the problem for the Islanders: The players that are perfect matches are either lateral moves for the potential trading partner (in which case, why disrupt your team if you don't need to?), while the better players are non-starters and the weaker players are ones the Isles don't want to accept for Hamonic, at least not until their hand feels forced.
That's why I've argued the Islanders may need to accept a loss or else a different kind of compensation in this deal. And it's why others are saying it may take a three-team deal in order for all sides to be happy.
Meanwhile, in his rundown of the top teams and their most desirable fits for a trade, Arthur Staple of Newsday dropped this tidbit about how the notoriously close-to-the-vest Isles likely see things now that the trade request has been leaked:
Snow strove to keep it quiet since the season began and may not be happy with whoever leaked it, perhaps in an attempt to pressure him into a deal.
If Snow and the Isles discover which team leaked the talks, don't bet on that team being the winner in this sweepstakes.
It's interesting that it was leaked basically simultaneously to both Friedman -- seen as reliable and a good guy in hockey media (i.e. He doesn't pop his mouth off for cheap "have a hot take" points like so many of his colleagues) -- and Darren Dreger, seen as an ultimate hockey insider.
Someone, or some people, have been talking, and now the pressure's on as the Canadian media feasts...
...unless the Isles hold firm, and this thing takes a long while.