Travis Hamonic has been placed on a “temporary leave of absence,” in what appears to be some salary cap stickhandling by the Vancouver Canucks.
“Travis Hamonic has been placed on a temporary leave of absence,” the Canucks announced in a statement on social media this afternoon. “The mutually agreed upon leave of absence will give Travis time as he works through his personal matters. The team asks that media respect Travis’ privacy and the club will not be making any further comments on this matter at this time.”
Hamonic cleared waivers and was sent to Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford last week. He still hasn’t reported to the Canucks, in Vancouver or Abbotsford, leading to speculation as to why.
Officially, the Canucks maintain that Hamonic is dealing with a “personal matter.” Given the timing, many have assumed it is related to the Canucks’ policy that all players must be fully vaccinated in order to play.
Canucks GM Jim Benning said on the first day of training camp that Hamonic would join the team for on-ice sessions in Abbotsford, but that never materialized.
“It’s bigger than what you guys think it is,” Benning said later.
Regardless of the reason, there are salary cap implications at play.
Hamonic was due to count $3 million against the salary cap, and the Canucks would get $1.125 million in relief by simply sending him to the minors. According to a report from CapFriendly which has since been confirmed by Daily Hive, the Canucks will receive even more relief by virtue of the situation being a “leave of absence.”
Travis Green clarified after practice in Detroit that Hamonic has not been suspended, though as far as the salary cap is concerned, the result appears to be the same. Hamonic’s cap hit is now $0, as a leave of absence is treated the same as being suspended without pay.
In terms of real dollars, Hamonic will not get paid while he’s on leave.
As previously stated, Hamonic currently does not have a cap hit: in this situation where the player takes a leave of absence, and the team isn't paying their salary, the player has no cap hit for the duration.
For cap purposes this is the same as Suspended Without Pay. https://t.co/yyj9jUAP21
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) October 18, 2021
“He was already buried in the minors, decreasing his cap hit from $3M to 1.875M,” CapFriendly reported earlier in the day. “The 1.875M hit is now also completely removed. His current cap hit is $0.”
Getting Hamonic’s cap hit off their books helps the Canucks, and potentially opens the door to finding a replacement for the veteran defenceman. The team will have to be prepared for Hamonic potentially returning, however, at which time his $3 million cap hit would be back in play.
The Canucks are still hoping to get Hamonic back in their lineup at some point according to Sportsnet 650’s Satiar Shah, and certainly they could use him on their blue line once he’s ready to play.
Canucks' preference is still to have Hamonic join the team if and when he's able https://t.co/uaPUAeiasB
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) October 18, 2021