Travis Hamonic still hasn’t reported to the Vancouver Canucks.
His status has been unclear since Thursday, when GM Jim Benning didn’t give a reason for his absence on the first day of training camp.
“Hamonic will be here,” Benning said.
“Hopefully he’s going to join us,” goaltender Jaroslav Halak added.
On Friday, the Canucks released a statement saying Hamonic was away for “personal reasons.”
Hamonic may not join the team at all this season, according to CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal, who reported today that the 31-year-old blueliner is contemplating retirement.
“Things I’ve heard over the weekend is that Mr. Hamonic is thinking about things like retirement, sitting out the season, coming back — all these things are at play,” Dhaliwal said this morning on Donnie and Dhali. “Could there be an announcement soon on Hamonic’s future? I do believe there could be.”
— Donnie & Dhali (@DonnieandDhali) September 27, 2021
Players have until Friday to opt out of the season, so the clock is ticking, but it still isn’t clear what is factoring into Hamonic’s decision.
Irfaan Gaffar reported on Thursday that Hamonic wasn’t in Vancouver, and that his absence wasn’t injury related. Given that the Canucks have said they’ll be 100% fully vaccinated by opening night — insinuating that they aren’t currently fully vaccinated — it has led to speculation that Hamonic is vaccine hesitant.
“Everything he is doing in this decision… is family related,” Dhaliwal added. “I am not hearing that he’s anti-vaxx. I am not hearing that.”
Hamonic was one of the players that opted out of the playoff bubble in 2020 when he was a member of the Calgary Flames. He released a statement explaining his decision, mentioning that he was concerned because his daughter was hospitalized with a respiratory virus in 2019.
Hamonic played last year, and was among the many Canucks players who got COVID-19 when the P.1 variant ripped through the team. The veteran blueliner signed a two-year contract with the Canucks just two months ago, but perhaps his decision to play in 2021-22 has changed.
Dhaliwal said Hamonic and the Canucks are still talking, and trying to find “common ground.”
If Hamonic does decide to opt out of next season, it will be a huge blow to the right side of the Canucks’ defence. A top-four defenceman on this team, Hamonic was pencilled in to play with Quinn Hughes.
Tyler Myers, Tucker Poolman, and Luke Schenn are the other right-shot defencemen on one-way contracts. Minor league right-side defencemen under contract include Kyle Burroughs, Madison Bowey, Jett Woo, and Brady Keeper — though Keeper suffered a broken leg in training camp.
The Canucks will save $3 million off the cap if Hamonic opts out, though there aren’t any comparable defencemen available in free agency.