When news recently broke of the off-season trade request by New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, the Winnipeg Jets became the assumed destination. Hamonic, 25, is a Manitoba native and it only makes sense for Isles GM Garth Snow to try and ship him back home.
The Winnipeg Sun's Ted Wyman wasn't surprised, pointing out the 30-year-old Byfuglien is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Even if the Jets sweetened the deal with draft picks or prospects, Wyman doubts Snow wants a defenseman who'll only be with his club for two-thirds of this season.
Wyman suggests the report means Byfuglien is on the trade block, but Friedman isn't so sure. Since Hamonic made his trade request months ago, we don't know when the Byfuglien offer was made. He also points out Byfuglien must submit a list of preferred trade destinations.
Friedman believes Snow prefers promising Jacob Trouba, but doubts the Jets will part with him. They're also unlikely to deal Tyler Myers, who was acquired last season from Buffalo in the Evander Kane deal.
Unless the Jets are willing to budge on Trouba or perhaps Myers, Hamonic won't be going to Winnipeg. Neither side seems in a rush to make a move.
TSN's Darren Dreger claims the Edmonton Oilers have genuine interest in Hamonic. However, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli won't part with Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom. Some pundits speculated perhaps Snow might accept a winger like Jordan Eberle, but Dreger points out Snow wants a defenseman comparable to Hamonic in return.
Dreger suggests it could take a three-way deal with another club to make this work. Friedman said he wouldn't be surprised if the Oilers, Islanders and St. Louis Blues got into discussions, though it doesn't seem like those talks went far.
Three-way trades during a season were rare before the salary-cap era and are now even scarcer. It could take until the trade deadline to work out something that complicated in order to get the cap dollars to fit.
Speaking of Byfuglien, the Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe feels it's time the Jets re-sign the big blueliner and fellow UFA Andrew Ladd or start listening to trade offers. With the club currently struggling, Wiebe feels uncertainty over the future of the duo isn't helping the situation.
By re-signing Byfuglien and Ladd, Wiebe suggests it'll send a message of stability to the rest of the roster. But if there's no deal to be had, it's best to shop them for the best possible returns.
If the Jet decide to move one or both players, don't expect them to hit the trade block until mid-January at the earliest. The last time a notable star was dealt before the December trade freeze was when the Boston Bruins shipped Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 30, 2005. Today's trade market usually doesn't spring to life until four-to-six weeks before the deadline.