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Travis Hamonic, Mike Smith 'ready for challenge' with Flames

Defenseman, goalie acquired in separate trades this month

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Travis Hamonic is happy for a fresh start closer to home.

The Calgary Flames defenseman reiterated his excitement again at a press conference at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday to introduce him and goaltender Mike Smith, each acquired by Calgary in separate trades this month.

"I think people are already tired of hearing how happy we are about the move," said Hamonic, who is from the Winnipeg area and played his first seven seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders before being traded Saturday. "My dogs even told me they're really excited too.

"Everyone's excited. My mom. My wife. My family. A bunch of people have already bought tickets to all sorts of different games already. We'll have to maybe get a second house for people to stay in, something with a guesthouse maybe. Everyone is thrilled. We're excited for the opportunity."

Hamonic, who had 14 points and a minus-21 rating in 49 games this season, was traded to the Flames along with a fourth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft by the Islanders for a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, a second-round choice in 2018 and a second-round selection in 2019 or 2020.

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The move comes nearly two years after Hamonic asked to be traded from New York during training camp in 2015 with the goal to be closer to his family in Manitoba. He rescinded that request May 10, 2016, and called the trade to Calgary a "happy coincidence."

Smith, who was 19-26-9 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .914 save percentage with the Arizona Coyotes this season, was acquired by Calgary in a trade from Arizona on June 17 for goaltender Chad Johnson, defense prospect Brandon Hickey and a conditional third-round pick.

Like Hamonic, Smith is looking forward to a new beginning after six seasons with the Coyotes.

"To be honest, I feel it's a breath of fresh air," the 35-year-old said. "I'm a competitor. I want to win real bad. I feel this move is an opportunity and a challenge I'm going to take on full-speed. I really respect this team. Playing against them is always a challenge. I look forward to being on this side of it now and helping this team be real successful."

The Coyotes qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in Smith's six seasons with them, advancing to the 2012 Western Conference Final.

Smith's only other playoff experience came with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011, when he was the backup to Dwayne Roloson on a run to the Eastern Conference Final.

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"They want to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs," Smith said. "I had a taste of it in 2011. We went to the conference finals. There's nothing like it. You just want to get back there. I remember in Tampa playing with Martin St. Louis and him saying after we got beat out by [the] Boston [Bruins] that year in the conference finals, he said, 'The [lousy] thing about this is you have to play 82 more games to get back to this level.' I'll never forget that chat we had.

"I want to get back to that level. I want to play in those important games, and I want to be a big part of pushing this franchise forward in a good direction."

Flames general manager Brad Treliving expects the addition of Hamonic and Smith will help do that. Calgary qualified for the playoffs for the second time in three seasons in 2016-17 but was swept in the Western Conference First Round by the Anaheim Ducks.

"We talked about what the players do this summer in terms of raising their level, but it starts with management," Treliving said. "We all needed to be better. We tried to be as aggressive as possible to add to the current group we have. I talked a lot about growth within the group, and I still believe that's the biggest form in how this team is going to move forward, but to be able to add [Hamonic and Smith], I think it signifies a real big step forward for our organization."

Hamonic said he is fine with the heightened expectations in Calgary.

"To be able to come in a market like this first and foremost, there's going to be some pressure for sure, but at the same time it's something I'm excited for and I'm ready for the challenge," he said. "To see how committed this organization is to winning is something that is truly exciting as a player to be a part of. You want to win and be surrounded by really good players. That's certainly the case here."

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