In the edition of Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, there are reports the club will not look to replace veteran defenceman Travis Hamonic. Quinn Hughes missed the team’s game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, while Brock Boeser made his season debut, which led to the Canucks placing Nic Petan on waivers. Lastly, the team will be at full capacity for its season opener on Oct 26th.
Canucks Not Looking to Replace Hamonic
TSN’s Pierre Lebrun reported general manager Jim Benning said the Canucks are not looking at the market to replace Hamonic. The veteran defenceman has been placed on a temporary leave of absence as he works through personal matters, the team announced on Monday.
The Canucks placed Hamonic on waivers earlier in the season, which cut down his $3 million cap-hit to $1.875 million. Since the defenceman has been placed on a temporary leave of absence, his cap hit is $0, giving the Canucks $2.7 million in cap space. Benning has decided not to use the remaining cap space to add another defender in case Hamonic decides to join the team this season. With the veteran blueliner out of the lineup, the team will look to Tucker Poolman, Luke Schenn and Kyle Burroughs to fill his spot.
Hughes Misses Action
Hughes was scratched for Tuesday’s matchup against the Sabres with a lower-body injury after taking part in the optional skate earlier in the day. He missed practice on Wednesday but skated on Thursday morning with Vasili Podkolzin and Luke Schenn.
Despite the team’s revamped blue line, Hughes has been logging heavy minutes to start the season. Through three games, he leads the team with an average time on ice of 27:39. He saw 29:09 in time on ice in his last game against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Head coach Travis Green noted he doesn’t expect his cornerstone defenceman to be sidelined for the long term and was close to playing on Tuesday night. Green stated Hughes could return against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
After missing a majority of training camp and the first three games of the 2021-22 season, Boeser made his return against the Sabres. He led the team in goals (23) and points (49) last season.
Although he didn’t register a point in his first game of the season, Boeser performed well against the Sabres. He held three shots on goal through 19:09 time on ice. He registered a team-leading 60.87 Corsi for % (CF%) and a team-leading expected goals for a percentage of 51.05.
He lined up next to Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander. The trio was by far the team’s best line, registering a team-leading 55.56 CF%, the only line to register a CF% over 50. Boeser will play a big part in any success the Canucks have this season. Although the team played its worst game of the season on Tuesday, he started his season off right.
Petan cleared waivers on Wednesday. The Canucks had to place the forward on waivers in order to reactivate Boeser from injured reserve. The team also applied for him to be non-rostered, which allowed the club to keep Jack Ratbone, Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander on the 23-man roster and allowed them to activate Boeser while waiting for Petan to clear waivers (from ‘Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s solid start, Elias Pettersson’s project and 8 more early season Canucks observations,’ The Athletic, October 18, 2021).
The Canucks signed Petan to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750,000. The Canucks are the forward’s third club throughout his seven-year career. He spent the majority of training camp playing alongside J.T. Miller and Podkolzin but hasn’t played in a regular-season game so far.
Canucks at Full Capacity
British Columbia will be lifting capacity limits for organized indoor gatherings and events starting Oct 25, which means the Canucks will be at 100% capacity for their home opener on Oct 26. The Canucks are the last NHL team to get approval for full capacity crowds.
It has been nearly 600 days since the team last hosted a game with a full arena, which featured a 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canucks will host the Minnesota Wild in their home opener on the 26th. The matchup will be the club’s seventh game of the season.
Canucks Off to Tough Start
After their 5-2 loss to the Sabres, the Canucks are now 1-2-1. The team has had an interesting start to the season since opening night against the Edmonton Oilers. The club was able to pick up one point in a shootout loss after trailing 2-0. The team picked up their first and only win against the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout, although the Canucks gave up a two-goal lead in the final minutes of the third period. Next, the club lost 3-1 to the Red Wings despite outshooting the team 41-21. Finally, they lost 5-2 to the Sabres, allowing three goals in the third period.
The Canucks will look to finish their season-opening six-game road trip with wins over the Blackhawks and the Seattle Kraken before heading home for their season opener
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.