The Coyotes have been in the market for a right-handed, top pairing defenseman ever since they came up short in the Dougie Hamilton sweepstakes this summer.
When news broke this week that Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic had requested a trade to a team in the west for what appeared to be the most noble of reasons, it was logical to wonder if the Coyotes had interest and would pursue such a deal.
They were interested and they have pursued it, general manager Don Maloney said Friday.
“Any time a good player becomes available on the market, it becomes incumbent on managers to reach out and see if there’s a match,” Maloney said. “Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be at this point with us.”
Maloney said it’s simply a matter of trade value. Hamonic currently plays on New York’s top defensive pairing with Nick Leddy. To deal Hamonic, Islanders GM Garth Snow would likely be looking for a player to replace him.
“The last things Garth is looking for is draft picks and prospects,” Maloney said. “They want to find someone to slide in and help that team win right now. A lot of people are talking about the Rangers and Capitals and Canadiens, but that team is good enough to contend right now so you don’t want to weaken it through a trade.
“I empathize with Garth right now because it’s a difficult situation.”
Maloney wouldn’t comment on what he might have offered, but it should be clear that offering either Michael Stone or Connor Murphy, Arizona’s top two right-handed defensemen, in a package wasn’t enough to land Hamonic, 25, who has five years left (including this season) on a team-friendly deal that will pay him an average of $3,857,142 per year.
Hamonic had five goals and 28 assists last season for New York, but has put up just three assists, perhaps as he struggles with his personal situation.
“I sure I’m one of 29 other managers that have reached out to him,” Maloney said of Snow. “It’s no secret (Hamonic) would like to come west and we’re in the west. There are some options out there they are evaluating and I would expect them to do something, but Garth is not just going to trade him to trade him. He’s got to get the right value and unfortunately, we just don’t seem to have what they’re looking for.”
Coyotes at Jets
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Where: MTS Centre
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Injury report: Jets — F Blake Wheeler took a puck to the head in Froday’s practice and is questionable. G Grant Clitsome (back) is on injured reserve. — Coyotes — D Nicklas Grossmann (lower body, IR) is day to day but will not play. F Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone, IR) and F Steve Downie (upper body, not on trip) are out.
Scouting the Jets: F Drew Stafford had a pair of goals as Winnipeg snapped a six-game losing streak (0-5-1) with a 4-1 win over Vancouver on Wednesday. … One-time Coyotes draft pick Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 21 points (eight goals) which is tied for sixth in the NHL. … The Jets (9-9-2) sit sixth in the NHL’s best division, the Central.
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