Canucks at camp: Alex Chiasson in PTO, Brandon Sutter, Tyer Motte injured, Justin Bailey has COVID

The Vancouver Canucks met with the media Wednesday at Rogers Arena ahead of their 2021 training camp.

Article content

A list of news highlights from the Vancouver Canucks from Wednesday morning’s press conference at Rogers Arena, the first in-person meeting between players and staff of the National Hockey League club and the media since October 10. March 2020.


Article content

Injury problems

Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes remain without a contract and will not be on the ice when training camp begins Thursday at Abbotsford, but beyond the dynamic duo, a handful of other Canucks are expected to be absent.

As previously reported, Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed winger Tyler Motte is injured and will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.

Benning did not identify Motte’s injury beyond saying it was “upper body.”

Motte received a hit in a game last April against the Toronto Maple Leafs and has not been seen on the ice since. It has been speculated that he had suffered a concussion, but it turns out that he underwent surgery sometime this summer.

“I don’t know if he will be available to start the season or not, it will depend on how the rehab goes,” Benning said.


Article content

Benning said center Brandon Sutter is a question mark as the veteran center is dealing with fatigue. Benning said the fatigue is not believed to be related to Sutter’s fight with COVID-19 last season.

Sutter tested negative for COVID-19, Benning said.

“He’s been doing some testing, so we’re still not sure what that is,” he said. “He may not be available to start the camp.”

Captain Bo Horvat was feeling a bit off and stayed away from Wednesday’s press session but is expected to skate at Abbotsford.

COVID Questions

There were some doubts about Travis Hamonic’s status Wednesday morning, with sources suggesting that he might be absent from the camp due to protocol issues related to COVID-19.


Article content

Benning insisted the veteran defender would be at camp, though new backup goalie Jaroslav Halak later said Hamonic was not in town, but hoped his former New York Islanders teammate would join the Canucks soon.

One player tested positive for COVID-19, Benning acknowledged: Justin Bailey.

The speedy winger’s season came to an abrupt halt last March when Calgary’s Milan Lucic registered him on the boards from behind. Bailey underwent surgery for the injury and was absent when the Canucks suffered their COVID-19 outbreak.

He tested positive before crossing the Canada-United States border this week, meaning he will have to wait at least another 10 days before returning north from his home in the Buffalo, New York area.


Article content

Chiasson to try

With the Canucks already grappling with question marks in the forward group, winger Alex Chiasson has been brought into camp with a pro test offer.

Bringing Chiasson’s experience to an extreme makes sense, given the doubt about Motte’s status. Chiasson is a big man, 6 feet 4 inches, who also has a nose for the net.

He scored nine goals in 45 games last year for the Edmonton Oilers. He comes off a two-year contract he signed with the Oilers prior to the 2019-20 season that paid him an average of $ 2.15 million per season.

Chiasson was at Oilers Camp in 2018 with a PTO and earned a one-year contract. He continued with 22 goals in 2018-19. He has 101 goals in 564 career games for the Oilers, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators and Dallas Stars.


Article content



Vancouver Canucks vs. Seattle Kraken

6 pm, Spokane Veterans Memorial Stadium. Radio: Sportsnet 650.

If he has a real shot at a Vancouver contract it probably has to do with the status of Motte or another striker who suffers an injury that will keep him out of the lineup.

But no matter what Chiasson’s long-term role on the team is, he will help at least in the short term, helping meet the “veteran” quota requirement for the NHL preseason rosters.

In preseason games, NHL teams must dress a minimum of eight “veteran” players. Skaters who played in about a third of last season’s games, or at least 100 NHL games in their career qualify for this status, as well as goalies who dressed in 50 NHL games in their career or played a third of last season’s games.


Article content

The most recent first-round draft picks also qualify as “veterans,” although the Canucks did not select in the first round in either 2020 or 2021.


The Canucks play Sunday in Spokane, Washington, against the Seattle Kraken in their preseason debut. They will then play Monday night back “at home” at the Abbotsford Center, which will be home to the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League when they begin play in late October.


Article content

Sportsnet Pacific will not broadcast any of the games, but Sportsnet 650 plans to cover the game live from Spokane Arena, home of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.

It’s no doubt an exciting assignment for a Canucks radio play from game commentator Brendan Batchelor, who covered Canucks games at home and off the Sportsnet 650 studios last season and knows the Spokane barn well, as he was the play-by-play commentator for Vancouver. Giants from 2013 to 2017.

[email protected]

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We would like to hear from you about this or any other story that you think we should know about. Send an email to [email protected].



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment