Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning had enough on his pre-season plate attempting to get Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes signed. Those negotiations could be affected by uncertainty over defenseman Travis Hamonic's status for the coming season.
Hamonic, 30, has yet to report to Canucks training camp. While Benning last week assured the press he would join his teammates, recent reports indicate he could opt-out of the season by this Friday's deadline or perhaps retire due to family matters.
The Province's Ben Kuzma reports Hamonic's absence was related to the NHL's COVID protocols for this season. He opted out of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs while with the Calgary Flames due to his then-infant daughter being hospitalized with a respiratory infection.
Kuzma noted Benning wants to give Hamonic space while the blueliner deals with this personal decision. If the right-side rearguard opts out or retires, the Canucks GM will have to find a suitable replacement.
Cap Friendly indicates Hamonic is in the first season of a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $3 million. Benning could use that money to put toward another defenseman, perhaps by signing unrestricted free agent Jason Demers. He could also test the trade market or see who's available on the waiver wire.
Benning could also use that $3 million to get Pettersson and Hughes under contract and back in time for some training camp/pre-season action before their regular season opens on Oct. 13. If so, he'll have to look within his system for Hamonic's replacement.