The Islanders sent longtime defenseman Travis Hamonic to the Calgary Flames in exchange for draft picks on day two of the NHL Draft in Chicago.
The deal, which began to hit the rumor wire as the Islanders were making their 77th overall selection, sends Hamonic and a fourth-round pick in 2019 or 2020 to Calgary for a 2018 first-round pick, 2018 second-round pick and either a 2019 or 202 second-round pick. The trade ends days of heavy speculation that the Islanders were planning to move the 26-year-old defender.
Hamonic had requested a trade to a team closer to his family in Western Canada during the 2015-16 season, but rescinded the request at the end of the year.
“I love being an Islander,” Hamonic said at the time. “It’s my home here. My family loves it. We enjoy living here. I obviously enjoy my teammates and I love them; I love this organization. I said it the other day, being an Islander is one of the best things I do with my life and I could not be more eager for next year’s training camp.”
With Hamonic on his way to Calgary, the Islanders cleared up another $4 million in cap space for next season and picked up future assets that could be swapped in another trade or used to help bolster the team’s prospect pool.
However, it comes at a cost to the team’s blue line. The Islanders will likely rely more heavily on Calvin de Haan and youngsters like Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech. Pulock has not seen much NHL action, which included not playing a single minute with the Islanders last season, and de Haan has been solid, but it is unclear if he’ll handle the added pressure well.
The return for Hamonic also raises questions as to just what the Islanders plan is at the moment. The prevailing thought that the picks they received will used in another trade for a top-six forward, but if they don’t then where does that leave the team.