Travis Hamonic wants to stay with the New York Islanders after all, and that's a big win for the team.
There's good news for the New York Islanders. And even better news for Travis Hamonic.
The defenseman has rescinded the trade request he made prior to the season and has decided to remain with the Isles.
"I love it here and want to be here and want to win a Cup here," Hamonic said on Tuesday. "I never wanted to leave here and couldn't be happier to stay here."
Hamonic told Isles beat writer Peter Botte that his request was motivated by a desire to be nearer to "an extremely close family member" who was going through some serious health issues. Fortunately, that person's condition stabilized, freeing Hamonic from the need to move closer to his Manitoba home.
The good news comes just two days after the Isles were beaten, 4–0, by the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of their second-round series. The loss eliminated them from the playoffs and started the clock on several key off-season decisions awaiting GM Garth Snow.
Retaining Hamonic solves one of his biggest concerns. The 25-year-old is the workhorse of the team's blueline, averaging the highest TOI while taking the bulk of the team's defensive and neutral zone face-offs. He's an outstanding penalty killer, a consistent physical presence and a player with some offensive upside. Keeping him around for the duration of his contract—which runs through 2019-20 at a bargain rate of just under $3.2 million—gives the Isles a foundational piece to build their D corps around.
This is a big win for Snow, who had to do some deft work to make this possible. Rather than immediately acquiescing to the trade demand, he found a middle ground between compassion for Hamonic as a person and the needs of the franchise, serving both well enough to ultimately arrive at a happy ending for all sides.