Article at a glance:
It was bumpy ride, but the Vancouver Canucks have set their roster to start the 2020-21 NHL season.
Following the news Tuesday that
Jordie Benn and J.T. Miller wouldn’t be available to start the season because of COVID-19 concerns
, Canucks management had to jump a few extra hurdles to set the roster as it wanted, which includes giving Nils Höglander his NHL debut, the first Canuck to have been born in the current century.
Olli Juolevi is expected also to make his NHL regular season debut; he played a single game in the Stanley Cup qualifying round vs. the Minnesota Wild last summer.
Because of their COVID-19 status, Benn and Miller are “non-roster” to start the season, which isn’t the same as being on injured reserve in technical terms but, functionally, it’s the equivalent. Neither player counts towards the 23-man roster limit, for the time being.
As expected, Micheal Ferland is on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) list, giving the Canucks relief from the bulk of his salary cap hit, thus allowing other moves, such as
Tuesday’s signing of Travis Hamonic
For now, the extra defenceman on the active roster is Jalen Chatfield, and Loui Eriksson is the extra forward. He was initially assigned to the taxi squad to help make cap space before the Ferland LTIR move.
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Jayce Hawryluk is on long-term injured reserve list as well after suffering an upper-body injury in last Saturday’s scrimmage.
Mike DiPietro is on the taxi squad as the team’s third goalie, but could see himself loaned to a Canadian AHL squad in the coming weeks in order to get him some game action. The Manitoba Moose stand as a likely destination, especially after the Jets lost Eric Comrie on waivers to the New Jersey Devils. Comrie was supposed to serve as the Jets’ taxi squad goalie.
If DiPietro is indeed loaned, Jake Kielly is likely to serve as the third goalie.
The other members of the taxi squad aren’t a big surprise: Justin Bailey still intrigues the coaches; Marc Michaelis is a smooth skater and impressed in training camp after being signed from the NCAA at the end of last season; and both Guillaume Brisebois and Brogan Rafferty have shown enough in the last season-plus for them to be seen as depth defencemen.
Jack Rathbone is also in the mix and will benefit from the opportunity to practise with the big leaguers, though he could end up in the AHL once that league gets going next month.
Jay Beagle, Brock Boeser, Loui Eriksson, Adam Gaudette, Nils Hoglander, Bo Horvat, Zack MacEwen, Tyler Motte, Tanner Pearson, Elias Pettersson, Antoine Roussel, Brandon Sutter and Jake Virtanen.
Jalen Chatfield, Alex Edler, Travis Hamonic, Quinn Hughes, Olli Juolevi, Tyler Myers, and Nate Schmidt.
Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby.
• Jordie Benn (COVID-19 protocols)
• J.T. Miller (COVID-19 protocols)
• Micheal Ferland (post-concussion)
• Jayce Hawryluk (upper-body)
• Justin Bailey
• Guillaume Brisebois
• Mikey DiPietro
• Marc Michaelis
• Brogan Rafferty
• Jack Rathbone ...