Travis Hamonic has rescinded his trade request and plans to stick around as a member of the New York Islanders.
In the wake of a health scare to a close family member, Hamonic had asked the Islanders for a trade back to or near his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba in September. But in the months since the trade request, the 25-year-old defenseman said the situation has “stabilized” to the point where he felt comfortable staying with the Islanders.
“It was a tough, trying year, but I obviously had the support of the organization and my teammates throughout 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 [I’m] just relieved for that, thankful for that and pretty grateful for that.”
Even with the health situation improving, Hamonic still could have asked General Manager Garth Snow to accommodate his request, but his decision to stay reflected how much he loves the team, organization and living in the area.
“I love it here,” Hamonic said. “I wouldn’t have signed my seven-year deal if I didn’t like it here. I love it. I love living here and everything that being an Islander is. I couldn’t be more ecstatic, especially to know that things back home stabilized and I think that’s the main thing. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Having family matters on his mind didn’t affect Hamonic’s game on the ice, as he averaged the most ice time on the team this season, skating 23:49 per game during the regular season and 26:08 per contest in the postseason, second to defense partner Nick Leddy. The Islanders were 24-6-6 this season when Hamonic led the team in ice time.
“It’s huge,” Leddy said of Hamonic’s decision to stay. “He’s an exceptional player and an even better guy. He’s a great guy to have around in the locker room and he’s the type of guy that you want to play with.”
Keeping Hamonic preserves the top of the Islanders’ defensive depth chart — he makes up a versatile top-three with Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Each adds something different: Hamonic acts as the physical, shutdown defender, Leddy leads rushes with his smooth skating and quarterbacks the power play, while Boychuk brings a booming shot and big-hit potential.
Hamonic tied a career-high with five goals this season, adding 16 assists for 21 points. While the 25-year-old plays on the edge, he managed to stay out of the penalty box this season, racking up 35 penalty minutes, his lowest number over five full seasons with the Islanders.
“For us moving forward, Travis being a part of our team is a big plus for our hockey club,” coach Jack Capuano said. “Forgetting him being a top defenseman on our hockey club and the minutes that he logs, it’s having a good guy, a good teammate, a good leader and a good character guy. You need those type of guys to win.”