Canucks’ News & Rumors: Hamonic, Rathbone, Motte & More

In the newest edition of Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the club recalled Travis Hamonic and loaned Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks in the American Hockey League (AHL). Tyler Motte returned to practice on Monday, while Danila Klimovich was told he’d be staying in Abbotsford. 

Hamonic Returns

The Canucks recalled Hamonic on Monday morning from Abbotsford. Head coach Travis Green stated the defenceman will be double vaccinated soon. He joined the team at practice and split time with Luke Schenn playing on the bottom pair with Kyle Burroughs. 

Hamonic has been away from the team since the start of training camp. The club placed Hamonic on a temporary leave of absence midway through October, but he joined the team in Abbotsford a week later. He played one game in the AHL and posted an assist. He could return to the lineup on Tuesday against the New York Rangers. 

Rathbone Loaned to AHL

Meanwhile, the team loaned Rathbone to Abbotsford in order to recall Hamonic. Rathbone is expected to join the AHL team on Tuesday and will practice with the club. He has played in eight games with Vancouver this season. He doesn’t require waivers which made him an easy option to move. It is undetermined how long the 22-year-old defenceman will stay with the AHL club, but the stint will allow Rathbone to play meaningful minutes. 

Tyler Motte Returns to Practice 

Along with Hamonic, Motte returned to practice on Monday. He missed the first nine games of the season due to an offseason neck injury. The forward had been dealing with a bulging disk in his upper vertebrae, which he had surgery for in the offseason. Motte is unsure when he’ll be able to return to the lineup.

“I feel pretty good,” Motte said. “I won’t sit here and put a timeline on it for you. But we’ll see how [my neck] responds here. It’s not always up to me. Doctors, surgeons, all those people involved. But I’m physically and mentally getting to the point where I’m ready to play.”

Motte is a valuable bottom-six forward for the team. Through 24 games last season, he posted six goals and nine points and averaged 16:01 in average time on ice. His return would add some much-needed speed, something the club seems to lack at times. 

Klimovich Staying in AHL

The Canucks have told Klimovich he will stay in Abbotsford. The organization originally planned on sending Klimovich to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but his play has impressed the club enough for him to stay in the AHL. Through seven games, he’s scored two goals and three points.

The Canucks selected Klimovich with the 41st pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The forward from Belarus went later in the draft than some believe he should have (from ‘Canucks’ Danila Klimovich off to bright AHL start: ‘If he wasn’t Belarusian, he would have been selected top 10’,’ The Athletic, October 18, 2021). 

“The jury’s still out on Klimovich but I think he’s a very special player and he is going to be a top-six player,” Klimovich’s agent Dan Milstein said. “If he wasn’t Belarusian, he would have been selected top 10 in this (2021) draft. Hopefully, he’ll turn out to be one of the franchise names where someday his jersey will go up next to Pavel Bure’s.”

Related: Canucks’ Draft-Day Steals

The Canucks have had some luck finding steals outside of the first round, including Bure, Stan Smyl and Alex Edler. Additionally, Benning does a great job of finding promising players outside of the first round. Along with Klimovich, he has drafted Michael Dipietro and Rathbone, to name a few.

Dowling on Injured Reserved

The Canucks placed Justin Dowling on the Injured Reserved list on Oct 23rd, but after missing three games, he participated in the team’s morning skate on Tuesday. Dowling was impressive throughout the six games he played with the team, scoring two goals while averaging 11:01 TOI. The club recalled Justin Bailey from Abbotsford. Bailey has played in three games this season and brings the speed the club needs upfront.

Canucks Missing a Few Bodies

Along with injuries to Motte and Dowling, the Canucks didn’t have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Matthew Highmore at practice on Monday. Ekman-Larsson participated in the morning skate on Tuesday. The Canucks are off to a rough start, posting a 3-5-1 record through nine games, good for seventh in the Pacific Division. Although the Canucks have a few players dealing with injuries, others are nearing their return to help improve their position in the standings.