The Vancouver Canucks have made a move with cap savings in mind, trading veteran defenseman Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators. The Canucks will receive a third-round pick in exchange, one that actually originally belonged to them. It’s the same pick that was sent to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Nate Schmidt in 2020, and then sent to Ottawa in last summer’s Evgenii Dadonov deal. No salary will be retained.
Hamonic, 31, is signed through next season and carries a $3MM cap hit, a number that certainly hasn’t been very valuable to the Canucks. After dealing with some early-season vaccination and quarantining issues that routinely kept him out of the lineup, Hamonic has played in just 24 games for Vancouver this season. While he has averaged over 18 minutes in those appearances, he has just three goals and seven points.
From the Senators perspective, this was a chance to add a stable, veteran presence to a lineup that is hoping to turn the corner and contend for the playoffs next season. Ottawa has no problem taking on a cap hit like that, especially when there’s still a real chance that Hamonic can live up to it if given the opportunity. A true stay-at-home defenseman, there was a time not too long ago when Hamonic could be relied on to completely erase an opponent’s best players, forcing them to play extremely low-event hockey. That time does seem to have passed, at least somewhat, though perhaps with a new team and new opportunity, he can return to being that true top-four right-handed shutdown defenseman that is so coveted.
Getting a third-round pick out of the deal is a huge bonus for the Canucks, who could have just as easily lost Hamonic before the season began for nothing when he was placed on and cleared waivers. There were some extenuating circumstances at that point, but just ridding the cap hit for next year should be considered a win for a team that will need all the wiggle room they can get.
The new management group led by Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have been clear about wanting to clear some money off the books, and they’re now $3MM lighter for the 2022-23 season. They’ve also added a nice draft pick, though it was actually once already theirs.
Darren Dreger of TSN was first to report the trade.