The magical mystery tour, in absentia, continues for Travis Hamonic. The preseason no-show for personal reasons, has been “expected” at training camp, but not really, shopped around by the Vancouver Canucks, not surprisingly to no avail, and now he’s been waived for the purpose of assigning him to the Abbotsford Canucks.
We should learn more when Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning addresses the media Monday afternoon at Rogers Arena following the team’s practice. We will also hear details on the club’s season opening roster. The team leaves Tuesday for it’s NHL regular season opener in Edmonton against the Oilers the following night.
Hamonic signed a two-year contract for $3-million per season back on July 28th, slated to return to the right side of the D-corps, presumably next to a former partner in Quinn Hughes. It hasn’t come to fruition and as we’ve pointed out on more than one occasion, the Canucks should indeed feel jilted. In the two months between signing and the start of camp, something apparently changed dramatically for Hamonic, rumoured by many to be Covid-vaccine related. How the vaccine potentially affects the health of Hamonic and his young daughter, who was hospitalized at a young age with a respiratory illness, seems to be the concern. His daughter, as an infant, had been rushed to the hospital in January of 2019 when Hamonic played for the Flames.
Hamonic was one of the two-dozen Canucks placed on Covid treatment protocols when the illness swept through the team last spring.
With that in mind, all bets are off in terms of judging this player, regardless of previous requests or demands he may or may not have placed on his NHL employers. The “finicky” label does not apply in matters of family health. Most importantly, from everyone VHN has spoken with, this player is a good teammate. Whether he is an “anti-vaxxer”, with all of the connotations that come with it, remains to be seen.
Also waived on Sunday were Justin Bailey, no surprise given his late arrival to the preseason due to positive Covid tests, Madison Bowey, a right-shot defenceman smothered at the bottom of the depth chart, and left wing Phil Di Giuseppe. Many observers had this player as an opening night lock, given his time on the penalty kill and his pairing with Canucks projected third-line centre Jason Dickinson on a regular basis. But then again, the PK hasn’t been that good, particularly early in the preseason and Di Giuseppe’s time on ice has waned.
Di Giuseppe had his lone point of the preseason Saturday night, a lovely redirection for a goal at 13:44 of the third period against the Edmonton Oilers that put the Canucks on the board and spurred their late comeback attempt. Vancouver fell short and lost 3-2 while Di Giuseppe finished with 10:30 in ice time. In five games he had a total of eight shots on goal.
The roster jockeying will likely continue, the final names to open the season are due Monday. Bailey and Di Giuseppe are names one could expect to see back in the big club’s line-up, if not much sooner than later.