Brooklyn Boro

Hamonic a stay-at-home defenseman

Veteran Blueliner Says He Will Remain Right Here in Brooklyn

May 11, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Travis Hamonic rescinded his long-standing trade request Tuesday, helping the Islanders keep their stalwart defenseman in place for the next four years. AP photo
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For the first time since their humbling exit from the Stanley Cup chase, the Islanders got some much-needed good news Tuesday as veteran defenseman Travis Hamonic officially rescinded the trade request he had made before the team’s first campaign in Brooklyn even began.

“It was a tough, trying year, but I obviously had the support of the organization and my teammates throughout the whole thing and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” said the six-year veteran blueliner, who had asked general manager Garth Snow to move him closer to his Manitoba home last year in the hopes of being there for a close family member in the midst of a serious health scare.

The request put a great deal of pressure on Snow to find a deal that would get the Islanders anything close to equal value for a player that has put in more ice time than any other wearing Orange-and-Blue since making his NHL debut in 2010.

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Hamonic, still only 25, was one of the more emotional Islanders in the post-game locker room following Sunday’s 4-0 loss in Tampa, which ended New York’s most successful season in over two decades.

“I love being an Islander. It’s one of the best things I do in my life,” Hamonic intimated while fighting back tears.

Less than 48 hours later, the player, who logged a team-high 24 minutes per game this past season, revealed that he would no longer be seeking a trade away from the only NHL franchise he has ever been employed by.

“In the last little while, we’ve learned that the situation has stabilized itself,” Hamonic said from the team’s practice facility in Syosset, L.I., on Tuesday morning.

“So first and foremost, [I’m] just relieved for that, thankful for that and pretty grateful for that.”

So are his teammates.

Known for his tough-as-nails approach and warrior’s spirit, Hamonic is revered throughout the Islander locker room, and should be here for the remaining four years on his contract.

“Forgetting him being a top defensemen on our hockey club and the minutes he logs, having a good guy and having a good teammate and a good leader and character guy … you need those types of guys to win,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. “Travis being a part of our team is obviously a good plus for our hockey club.”

“Some things affected Travis in a big way, and we supported him all season and he played tremendous all season,” added team captain John Tavares, who has played with Hamonic since he first arrived.

“I think as a team and myself, we’re really impressed with how he responded and just kept playing hard and really even elevated his game after a lot of that had come out.”

Hamonic, who matched his career best with five goals while amassing 21 points in 72 regular-season games during Season One in Brooklyn, admitted that he was more than just a bit relieved to be staying.

“I love it here,” he gushed. “I wouldn’t have signed my seven-year deal if I didn’t like it here. I love it. I love living here and everything that being an Islander is. I couldn’t be more ecstatic, especially to know that things back home stabilized and I think that’s the main thing. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

“It’s huge,” added fellow defenseman Nick Leddy of Hamonic’s decision. “He’s an exceptional player and an even better guy. He’s a great guy to have around in the locker room and he’s the type of guy that you want to play with.”

The Islanders, who went a healthy 24-6-6 this season when Hamonic paced the team in ice time, must now turn their attention to their three big unrestricted free agents: Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin.

Snow, a former NHL goaltender, must also figure out what to do with New York’s three-headed net-minding rotation as primary goalie Jaroslav Halak could wind up out of the mix following the emergence of Thomas Greiss in the playoffs and the team’s infatuation with young third-stringer Jean-Francois Berube.

Most of those decisions are likely to be made after July 1, when the Islanders’ new ownership group of Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin officially takes over control from longtime owner and Brooklyn Tech High School alum Charles Wang.

But from now until then, Snow and the rest of the Islanders’ hierarchy and players can take heart in knowing one of the critical pieces in their ongoing quest to capture the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1983 in still very much in place.

“I’m certainly not one to enjoy any of this attention, and it seems like a lot of it this year was around for the wrong reason,” Hamonic said. “I wish it had been more of the focal point of [my] play on the ice and things like that, but I understand that there’s that side of it. I’m excited just to put this aspect of it behind me and move forward and hopefully not talk about this again.

“I want to be here. I want to win a Cup. I don’t want to put a timeline on [when things improved], it’s probably hard,” he added. “I never wanted to leave. That never was anything about this. I love being here. I love my time here and I couldn’t be any happier.”Travis Hamonic rescinded his long-standing trade request Tuesday, helping the Islanders keep their stalwart defenseman in place for the next four years.

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