NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Islanders have been put in a brutal spot by one of their most important players.
Travis Hamonic has requested a trade, preferably to a team based in Western Canada, he confirmed on Thursday.
The 25-year-old defenseman, who is dealing with family issues, made the request over the summer and the Islanders have since been trying to accommodate him, Newsday reported Wednesday.
"The root of all this is a personal family matter of mine that I hold dear to my heart," Hamonic told reporters after practice Thursday.
When asked if the request had anything at all to do with the Islanders, he said: "I've been treated like gold ever since they drafted me."
The situation is tricky for general manager Garth Snow, who views Hamonic as a centerpiece of his team's defense. Having smartly drafted since as far back as 2008 and upped his team's payroll considerably in recent years, Snow sees the Islanders as a team that is built to win now. Shipping out a valuable piece like Hamonic for draft picks and/or prospects is not going to cut it.
The Islanders want a comparable player, and so far haven't been able to find a trading partner, even though Snow has spoken to several teams over the last six weeks, Newsday reported.
Hamonic, who hails from Manitoba, has expressed his desire to get moved to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets or Vancouver Canucks, but may expand the destination list. However, he did say Thursday he's not insistent the trade happen immediately, adding he's prepared to play the entire season with the Islanders.
Captain John Tavares said the Islanders are not going to let the situation distract them.
"We're going to support him and he's going to play his hardest," Tavares said.
Besides Hamonic's prowess as a true shutdown defenseman -- many believe the Islanders would have beaten Washington in the first round of the playoffs last spring had they had a then-injured Hamonic to guard the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin -- he is signed to an extremely salary cap-friendly contract through 2019-20 at an average annual value of just a shade over $3.857 million, a relative pittance considering what top 4 defenseman make in the NHL.
After putting up 33 points in 71 games in 2014-15, Hamonic has three assists, is a plus-5 and is logging an average of more than 23 minutes of ice time in 19 games this season.
The Islanders (10-6-3) open a home and home with the co-leaders of the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens, on Friday.
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