Earlier this week Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, prompting concerns that the Jets could have a breakout and more positive tests ahead. So far, that has not really been the case. At least not as bad as initially feared. But another one of their players did get added to the league’s protocol on Thursday when Mark Scheifele was added following a positive test.
Scheifele is reportedly asymptomatic and there was hope that he might be able to play on Thursday night if he produced two consecutive negative tests. However, just a couple of hours before the Jets faced off against the Anaheim Ducks for their home opener it was reported that Scheifele produced another positive test. That will keep him out of the lineup for the time being.
Because Wheeler has symptoms he will be required to miss at least 10 days before he would be eligible to return.
The Jets are not the only team dealing with COVID-19 issuesl at the moment.
The Pittsburgh Penguins also announced that center Jeff Carter and starting goalie Tristan Jarry have also the league’s protocol. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Carter tested positive but did not indicate whether Jarry did as well or is considered a close contact. Both players are asymptomatic. As long as they remain without symptoms and produce two negative tests they will be able to return.
If Carter is unable to play on Saturday against Toronto that means the Penguins will be playing the Maple Leafs without their top three centers as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both remain sidelined due to offseason surgeries. That would elevate Evan Rodrigues to the top center spot if Carter can not play.
Casey DeSmith would start in goal if Jarry can not play on Saturday.