It wasn't easy for Garth Snow to part with Travis Hamonic.
Snow said the defenseman was like family to him, but in need of assets, the Islanders General Manager dealt Hamonic and a fourth-round pick to the Calgary Flames for a 2018 first-round pick and a pair of future second-rounders.
"I think the world of him on and off the ice," Snow said. "Just a first-class player and a first-class person. These deals are always tough to do because there's an emotional element to how he is in our community and the locker room."
Hamonic, who won the NHL Foundation Player Award on Tuesday, was an emotional leader for the Islanders during his seven-year tenure. Drafted in 2008, Hamonic was a part of the Islanders organization for nearly a decade, racking up 146 points (26G, 120A) and 452 penalty minutes in 444 games. Hamonic had a career-high 33 points (5G, 28A) in 2014-15.
The 26-year-old was the longest-tenured defenseman at the time of his trade.
But with Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Hickey, Dennis Seidenberg and Scott Mayfield under contract for next season, as well as restricted free agents Calvin de Haan and Adam Pelech needing new deals, and Bridgeport's Ryan Pulock expected to challenge for a spot, the Isles blue line had become crowded.
And with Snow looking to recoup assets - the Islanders traded this year's first-round pick to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday - the blue line was the logical position to deal from.
"We have a lot of depth on our blue line and it's going to give our younger D an opportunity to have some playing time," Snow said. "We're really confident in that position moving forward, so it's a situation we felt we could capitalize on and get some assets. Whether we use those in the future in a draft, or use them as a currency in a future player transaction, it's a good luxury for our organization to have."