What Travis Hamonic’s Departure Means For Vancouver

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Reports of Travis Hamonic considering retirement have emerged. The Vancouver Canucks could be in a sticky situation if Hamonic does decide to hang up his skates. Hamonic is yet to report to Canucks camp and general manager Jim Benning has said he will be here, although he is listed away for personal reasons. Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic reported that Hamonic is contemplating either sitting out for the entirety of the 2021-2022 season or retiring from hockey altogether. Players have until September 30th to decide if they will sit out this season.

What Hamonic Brings to the Table

Hamonic is an 11-year veteran player with 675 games under his belt. Through is 11 years Hamonic spent seven years with the New York Islanders, three years with the Calgary Flames, and last season with the Canucks. He has averaged 21:58 minutes of ice-time over his career, proving he can eat minutes. He makes for a viable second pairing penalty-killing defenseman as he is not afraid to get in front of shots and throw his body around. He has totaled 1362 blocked shots over his 675 career games as well as 1071 hits. He is also a strong puck-moving defenseman who complements Quinn Hughes perfectly.

Potential Replacements

If Hamonic does decide not to play this season it will be vital to choose his replacement, as he is set to pair with Quinn Hughes on the Canucks first defensive pairing. The Canucks have options on the right side. Ultimately it will be tough to replace Hamonic’s defensive presence from within, but unfortunately, it will be the only option as there are no viable right-handed defensemen in free agency that measure up.

The First option is Tyler Myers. The big six-foot-eight defenseman has been with the Canucks for two seasons now and has not seemed to earn a spot on the top pairing. Playing in 123 games with the Canucks Myers has totaled 42 points, 182 blocked shot, 100 penalty minutes, and averaged 21:46 minutes of ice time. Although his careless penalties and sloppy turnovers have cast a grey cloud over his head in the eyes of Canucks fans he could be the most viable option to take over Hamoic’s spot.

The new kid on the block Tucker Poolman is fighting for a roster spot. Poolman signed a year deal with the Canucks this offseason. Playing three seasons for the Winnipeg Jets, the 28-year defenseman did not see a lot of ice-time averaging 16:45 per game over 120 games. Poolman will not be a full-time replacement but he could be a bandaid for the Canucks while they work through the Hamonic decision.

After departing the Canucks for the Tampa Bay Lightning after the 2018-19 season Luke Schenn is back in Vancouver, but he is not alone, he is back with two Stanley Cup rings. Schenn is a 13-year veteran journeyman playing for seven different NHL teams. Over the span of his career, Schenn has played 797 games totaling 152 points, 2565 hits, 1240 blocked shots, while averaging 17:44 minutes of ice time. Although not a top pairing kind of guy Schenn’s electric play, as well as his veteran leadership, could prove tremendous alongside Quinn Hughes.

Acquired by the Canucks at the deadline last season Madison Bowey did not play a game for the Canucks spending the remainder of the season in Utica. Bowey is yet to play a full NHL season, playing 156 games through 4 seasons averaging 15:36 minutes of ice-time. Of all the options above Bowey is the least likely, but at 26 years the Canucks can build him into something with the right amount of ice time.

It will likely be unknown what Hamoic’s decision is until Friday. Regardless the Canucks have options. If Hamonic does opt not to play this season it will free up $3 million in cap space for Vancouver in turn giving them more money to resign Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes but leaving a void on the right side. It should be in Canucks fan’s best interest to hope Travis Hamonic decides to play in Vancouver this season.

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