CHICAGO – As difficult as it was to deal away player he drafted, New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow is happy with the Travis Hamonic deal for two reasons.
First, Snow said he’s looking forward to the playing time that some of the team’s younger defensemen will receive, which he credits to the depth on the roster. The other reason is the draft picks acquired from the Calgary Flames can be used to as assets to improve the rest of the lineup.
“This was a situation that we felt we could capitalize on bringing in some assets, whether we use those in the future in the draft or use them as a currency in a future player transaction,” Snow said. “That’s a good luxury for our organization to have.”
Hamonic played 444 games with the Islanders over seven seasons. He developed into a key part of their blue line and also an important piece for the franchise. His work in the community was well known and resulted in him earning the NHL Foundation Player Award during the NHL Awards this week.
Calling him a “little brother,” Snow was cognizant of what Hamonic’s absence will mean to the franchise.
“I think the world of him on and off the ice. He’s well deserving of winning the award the other night in Vegas,” he said. “Just a first class player and first class person. These deals are always tough to do because there’s an emotional element, how we use him in our community, the locker room. It’s a move we’re willing to make because of the great depth on the blue line.”
A year ago, Hamonic rescinded a trade request to be closer to his family in Manitoba after a personal issue came up. Snow wouldn’t say if this deal was tied to that situation at all, but is happy with the return.
“I think he’s in a good place to play for his family and the Islanders got a solid return,” Snow said. “I think it’s a win-win for both teams.”
Despite rumors of Snow being active and possibly on the prowl for Matt Duchene or even Alex Galchenyuk, he threw cold water on any imminent deals going down.
“I don’t envision anything happening here in the next two days but that can always change,” he said. “We feel like we have a good hockey team. We have a team that’s built for now and for the future. You look at our prospects and the draft picks and we also have the ability to use some of those assets to bring in a player that can improve our club in the near-term.”
Snow “100 percent” will look to use those picks for bring in another high-end talent, if possible. Jordan Eberle was the first piece, and after this move you have to believe that there’s still another big move or two that will be made during the summer.
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