When you lay your pretty little heads to sleep this evening Vancouver Canucks fans, barring divine intervention, you won’t be smiling about a new deal for Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes. The leverage lies almost completely with the CAA agency, Pat Brisson and company, and the pressure sits on the shoulders of Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning. It was ramped up to an even greater degree this week when Calder Trophy winning winger Kirill Kaprizov signed for $9-million per season for five years in Minnesota and 21-year-old defenceman Rasmus Dahlin signed for $6-million per season over three.
Meanwhile at training camp, one starts to get the sense that Canucks Head Coach Travis Green is getting a little perturbed, to put it nicely, with his lack of a top-line centre and number-one defenceman on the ice. Yes, there are cliches about it being a business, and Green can empathize with the situation as a former player, but as a coach it would be nice to have a full line-up with which to work. Right now, seven players of various importance are missing for various reasons, including the two whoppers.
Green can’t truly express any frustration, but one can start to read between the lines.
“It gives some other guys some opportunity, but if everyone was in camp it would definitely look a lot different,” Green said.
One can almost sense a collective “boy, wouldn’t it be great if those guys were here,” between the staff, media, and the few hundred fans in attendance in Abbotsford.
“It’s much like during the season, we have injuries, you plan for the next game without guys, and right now …,” Green continued, “I wouldn’t say we’re planning for game-one of the regular season yet, we’ll have to see where it is, but we’re working with the group that’s here right now. We’re worried about those guys (here) and hope that those other guys are back soon.”
Another top defenceman, Travis Hamonic, is among those missing, believed to be for personal reasons, reportedly (by Postmedia) related to Covid vaccinations. In his media availability earlier this week, Benning said he believed Hamonic would be in camp and that the Canucks organization would be 100% vaccinated by the start of the season.
Justin Bailey tested positive for Covid at the border and had to quarantine in Buffalo. Brandon Sutter is recovering from a shoulder injury, while Tyler Motte is still recovering from off-season surgery for an upper-body injury.
Day three of training camp begins Saturday morning at 10 am. The Canucks have a pre-season game scheduled against the Seattle Kraken in Spokane, Washington Sunday evening.