New York Islanders trying to trade Travis Hamonic

John Tavares puts up two goals and an assist in New York’s 5-2 win against Arizona on Monday night.

Very quietly, the New York Islanders are trying a manoeuvre a difficult situation — the possibility of trading Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic, a talented 25-year-old defender who does tremendous things off the ice, is in play. He asked for a trade last summer for personal reasons. His preference is Western Canada and the Islanders will try their best to accommodate him.

One rumour indicated it was because he was unhappy with the unusual Long Island–Brooklyn setup for the team’s players, but a few sources blew that rationale out of the water.

“Nothing to do with it,” one said.

“This was a possibility before games began this season,” said another.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow and Hamonic’s agent, Kevin Epp, declined comment. Hamonic himself could not be reached.

There’s a ton to like about this player. He’s a right-hand shot, top-pairing defenceman with four years remaining on a good-value contract. The average annual amount is $3.857 million, although the actual dollars will be $4.875 million beginning in 2016-17. Teams are scared by term these days, but there’s less worry about someone signed to a fair deal during his prime years.

And Hamonic does phenomenal things off the ice.

His father, Gerald, died when Travis was a young boy. As a result, he invites children who’ve been through similar pain to Islanders’ games as his guest. (This work was illustrated in a tremendous 2014 ESPN feature).

As a result, it’s not an easy deal for Islanders to make.

“The problem with them trading Travis Hamonic,” one exec said, “is they want… Travis Hamonic.”

Several sources indicate Snow is not interested in a picks or prospects type of return. He’s looking for equal-level replacement.

That’s reason No. 1 this hasn’t happened yet. There aren’t a lot of these players available.