On break up day, the Islanders got some great news. Travis Hamonic loves being an Islander. The 25-year old shutdown defenseman previously requested a trade prior to the ’15-16 season due to someone close in his family not doing well. Throughout the process, the Islanders tried to accommodate him. He wanted to be closer to his family in Manitoba, Winnipeg. With that situation cleared up, Hamonic confirmed that he rescinded the trade request and will remain an Islander.
Even with the distraction, he played 72 games in the regular season and another 11 during the postseason. He didn’t let the off ice issue prevent him from putting together a good year, helping lead the club to its first second round appearance in 23 years. A steady right-handed D who is a solid defensive player, Hamonic led the Isles in average ice-time (23:49) and topped all Islander defenseman with 44 takeaways.
Unlike last Spring when an injury prevented him from participating in the first round against Washington, Hamonic was healthy enough to play in his second postseason. In 11 games, he ranked second in ice-time (26:08) behind teammate Nick Leddy (27:03). It was during an Isles’ 5-3 win in Game One over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinal that he scored his first career playoff goal- sneaking a shot from a tough angle by Ben Bishop tying the score. The Isles scored four straight to take a 4-1 lead and chase Bishop.
When they were eliminated on Sunday, questions remained as to whether Hamonic would be back. Coach Jack Capuano revealed to reporters covering the team that he would in fact return. Eventually, the defenseman confirmed it during an emotional interview.
“It was a tough, trying year but I had the support of the organization and my teammates behind me through the whole thing, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” Hamonic said. “In the last little while we’ve learned that the situation has stabilized itself. So, first and foremost, just relief for that, thankful for that and pretty grateful.”
“In the last little while, we’ve learned the situation has stabilized itself. Just relieved for that, thankful for that, pretty grateful. I love being an Islander, it’s my home here, my family loves it, I love my teammates, this organization. Being an Islander is one of the best things I do with my life.”
The way it was handled by the organization was first class. Originally, the trade request came out on Hockey Night In Canada from the reliable Elliotte Friedman in November. Hamonic is signed to a cap friendly deal that still has four years remaining. The average cap hit remains a bargain at $3.86 million-per-year. His salary is $4.875 million over the final four seasons.
“I love it here, I honestly do. I wouldn’t have signed my seven-year deal if I didn’t love it here. I love everything about being an Islander, so I couldn’t be more ecstatic. To know things back home have stabilized is the main thing.”
That’s one less thing Team President and GM Garth Snow has to worry about. The focus will be on re-signing unrestricted free agents Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo. Matt Martin can also test the market. With key restricted’s Casey Cizikas, Shane Prince and Ryan Strome also due raises, it should be an interesting summer in Brooklyn.