It's been almost a week since Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman broke the story about Travis Hamonic's desire for a move to a Western Canadian team due to family concerns.
After an initial flurry of info ("It's personal!" "It's not the commute!"), news has slowed down to just informed conjecture buried under rampant - and sometimes straight up bonkers - trade proposals from anyone that wants a piece of Hamonic. As of right now, Hamonic remains an Islander.
In the latest edition of his indispensable weekly 30 Thoughts column, Friedman looks at one of the NHL's most hot button topics and tries to add more pieces to the puzzle.
From the article:
7. One thing about the Islanders: It's not unusual for an organization to bury a player who asks for a trade. New York had the chance and didn't. Probably why Travis Hamonic says he'll play the full season if necessary.
8. So, where are we? GM Garth Snow's history is he's not afraid to think differently, avoid conventional wisdom. He's in a tough spot, because he's got a player who wants out, but Hamonic is an important part of a team that wants to win — and has a chance to win.
"I think 29 teams called Snow last week," one GM joked. Many were told they are not a fit. I don't think Calgary and Edmonton (who both want him) can pull this off without a third team.
Damien Cox reported the Islanders asked for T.J. Brodie, a non-starter for the Flames. I'd be real curious to see if they'd counter with Dougie Hamilton, but word is that's not what Snow likes. I'll get back to the Oilers in a minute. The Colorado Avalanche want in on this, but I'm also not sure what their match is. This is purely a spitball, but remember they were in on Hamilton. If this deal needs multiple pieces, does that work?
9. The Minnesota Wild have defencemen and, as I wrote last week, will eventually trade one. But they want a forward in return. The Islanders have to be careful, because Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo are unrestricted. They need bodies up-front this year and next. So, I'm not sure that's a fit, either. This brings me back to the Oilers. There have been several reports that Edmonton is not willing to part with Darnell Nurse. The thing I wonder there is, if Snow is looking to replace Hamonic with equal value, why is he looking at Nurse? Nurse will be a very good player, but that's not a similar fit in 2015. You have to think there's something else in that offer... a forward with term, perhaps? That solves a future problem, and if the Islanders do trade a pending UFA, maybe a defender comes in return. God only knows.
10. All of this brings us to... the Winnipeg Jets. It's the most logical fit. Hamonic wants to be there, which is such a bonus for the Jets. But if it was so easy, it would be done already. The right side of the defence, on paper, is so strong with Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba. Byfuglien is unrestricted. Trouba is restricted, but that's going to be a hard negotiation.
I'm one who believes the Islanders' ask is for the 21-year-old defender. Hamonic's salary — locked in for four more years — allows you to do some things. If GM Kevin Cheveldayoff thinks he's going to lose Byfuglien, does he want Myers/Trouba or Hamonic/Myers? I'm betting it's the former. But what if he loses Byfuglien and gets into a stalemate with Trouba? Tough call. The hometown thing ratchets the pressure, too. And...
11. That's why I think the Jets recently went back to Byfuglien to talk. Agent Ben Hankinson sent a text message declining comment, and I've got a better chance of getting something from DB Cooper than Cheveldayoff. Term is going to be big here. I can see the Jets wanting three years. But no way the player agrees.
12. There is at least one other team I think can do it straight-up: Anaheim. But it doesn't seem a likely want for Hamonic, does it?
In other words, there are lots of pieces on the chess board that are waiting for the right move. Who will be the first pawn that gets picked up?
The column is, as always, a must read and also includes tons of tidbits on goalie equipment, what's going on in Philly and the inner workings of the once-again-competent Bruins.