NHL trades: Flames upgrade defense with acquisition of Travis Hamonic

The Calgary Flames already had a solid top end of their defense corps. Now it's even stronger, and deeper, with Saturday's acquisition of Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders.

"He checks a lot of boxes for us," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said after sending multiple draft picks, including a 2018 first-rounder and a pair of future second-round selections, to New York for the 26-year-old Hamonic.

"He's got some great traits, we think he has a high ceiling, and we're excited to have him."

Hamonic joins a Calgary blue line that already features team captain Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton. It is now one of the better Top Fours in the Western Conference, though likely still a notch below the foursome in Nashville, consisting of Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, P.K. Subban and Ryan Ellis. Of the four Flames defensemen, all but the 33-year-old Giordano are 27 or younger, and each is signed at least through the 2019-20 season.

"We think that Top Four right now really solidifies," said Treliving. "We believe we have two [defense] pairs that can match up pretty much with any of the top lines other teams throw at us."

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His last season in Brooklyn with the Islanders was a difficult one, though, for Hamonic. Injuries limited him to only 49 games played, and he struggled with his on-ice play even when healthy. However, he has been a respected, solid player, and a strong locker room presence, the past seven seasons for the Islanders.

"I couldn't be more excited, it's a young team, but a good team" said Hamonic, who earlier this week was recognized for his extensive charitable work off the ice, being named the NHL Foundation Award recipient. "You want to surround yourself with great players. That's a huge part of the excitement."

Newsday reported that the Islanders turned down a previous offer by Toronto this weekend that would have seen winger James van Riemsdyk traded to New York as part of a deal for Hamonic.

Saturday's trade gives the Islanders roughly $9 million in cap space, as well as draft pick assets to possibly trade to bolster the current roster.

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This deal leaves veterans Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Dennis Seidenberg and Thomas Hickey on the Isles' blue line, along with restricted free agent Calvin de Haan. Youngsters Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, right now, are leading candidates to fill the big hole left by Hamonic's departure, should Islanders GM Garth Snow not look outside the organization.

"Travis, he's definitely a little brother," offered Snow. "I think the world of him on and off the ice. But we feel we have a good hockey team. We have a team that's built for now and the future. At the end of the day you have to do what's best for the hockey club."

Saturday's trade caps a busy week for both the Flames and the Islanders. Calgary acquired veteran goalie Mike Smith from the Coyotes prior to the expansion draft. The Islanders acquired top-six forward Jordan Eberle from the Oilers on Thursday for Ryan Strome after sending a parcel of draft picks and winger Mikhail Grabovksi to Vegas prior to the expansion draft to protect Strome, among others.

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/news/nhl-trades-calgary-flames-travis-hamonic-new-york-islanders/1a75v716z8gui1gz7kei2ud7a0

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