It has been five years since the New York Islanders dealt Travis Hamonic to the Calgary Flames. Hamonic spent seven seasons suiting up for the blue and orange and quickly became a fan favorite. Since becoming an everyday player, Hamonic had an immediate impact on the team, becoming one of the Islanders' best defenders, frequently matching up against the opposition's top line.
Back in 2015, there were rumblings that Hamonic was looking to be moved from the Islanders to join a team in Western Canada. On November 19, 2015, Hamonic made that official, confirming that he had requested a trade to be closer to his home in Manitoba, citing personal reasons.
"I would have liked to have the chance to talk to them and not have them see it online first, but it is what it is and those things can't be changed, unfortunately. It was difficult, I guess you can ask them, but they were certainly very understanding of a personal situation as I hope anyone would be in this situation."- Travis Hamonic
As part of ESPN's E:60 series, it is documented that Hamonic lost his father when he was 10 years old. The Hamonics owned a farm in their hometown of St. Malo, Manitoba, which was run by Travis' father.
Shortly after the Passing of Travis' father, the family sold the farm and moved to Winnipeg. It would later be revealed that a sickness within the Hamonic family is what lead to the trade request in the first place. Former GM Garth Snow tried to honor Hamonic's request, knowing about the situation with his father and how much family meant to him, while also getting the best return for the Islanders possible.
Six months later, soon after the Islanders were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Hamonic announced that he rescinded his trade request. Hamonic made it clear that the situation at home had stabilized and was ready to continue his career as an Islander.
The organization had just won its first playoff series in 22 years, and now their star defenseman was committing to the organization. Morale was high among the fan base in hopes of light at the end of a long dark tunnel the organization had been navigating for the past two decades.
"I love being an Islander. It's my home here. My family loves it. We enjoy living here. I obviously enjoy my teammates and I love them; I love this organization. I said it the other day, being an Islander is one of the best things I do with my life and I could not be more eager for next year's training camp."- Travis Hamonic
Even though Hamonic made it public that he was not seeking a trade any longer, it was perceived that his heart was always closer to his family in Manitoba and would prefer to be near his home.
Following another season where the Islanders failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Snow revisited a possible trade for Hamonic. During the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Snow reached a deal with the Calgary Flames to send Hamonic to Western Canada along with a fourth-round pick in either '19 or '20, in exchange for a first-round pick in '18, a second-round pick in '18, and a second-round pick in either '19 or '20.
"I'm not going to speak for Travis. We've talked a lot in the time we've been together. Those will remain between Travis and myself. We think he's in a good place to play for his family, and the Islanders got a solid return. I think it's a win-win for both teams."- Former Islanders' GM, Garth Snow
Fast forward five years and Hamonic has played for three different organizations across Canada. After spending only three seasons in Calgary, Hamonic signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Just before the start of the 2021-22 season, Hamonic was placed on waivers by the Canucks and went unclaimed. At the trade deadline, he was sent to the Ottawa Senators, where he would join the Senators' assistant coach and former Islanders Head Coach, Jack Capuano.
With the return the Islanders received from the Flames, GM Lou Lamoriello would go on to select Noah Dobson (12th overall in 2018), Ruslan Iskhakov (43rd overall in 2018), and Samuel Bolduc (57th overall in 2019).
Dobson has become one of the Islanders' most valuable players in the short time he has spent on Long Island, as he looks for a new contract with the organization after posting a career-best 51 points in 2021-22.
Both Iskhakov and Bolduc have yet to make their debut for the Islanders, but Bolduc looks like he may be poised to get an opportunity with the big club in the upcoming season. During training camp before the start of the 2020-21 season, Bolduc left an impression on the Islanders' front office. He would be one of the last players cut in what would be a shortened NHL season.
Bolduc never got another chance to impress as an undisclosed injury prevented him from participating in training camp the following season. Barring any injury to the Isles' blue line, Bolduc could see himself receiving a call-up at some time this upcoming season. Iskhakov is set to make his North American debut for the Bridgeport Islanders this season after signing a two-year entry-level contract back in May.
Though the 12 years that Snow spent in charge of the Islanders is highly criticized, this trade may be a lasting impression left on the organization from his time overseeing the Islanders. As Hamonic has become a bit of a nomad across Canada, Dobson has become one of the league's brightest young defensemen and could become a future Norris Trophy candidate.
Hamonic was a substantial part of the Islanders organization for seven seasons. But what may be remembered most about him is the haul the team received in return for his request to be moved to Western Canada.