Let’s go over the latest NHL COVID news, with Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner ranking as the biggest name added to protocol. Scroll for a couple important injury bits, too.
Maple Leafs add Marner, Engvall to NHL COVID protocol list
Much like other teams, the Maple Leafs dealt with plenty of players going in and out of NHL COVID protocol over the last month or so. Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall avoided entering NHL COVID protocol … until now, it seems.
While Marner hasn’t put up huge offensive numbers by his standards in 2021-22 (21 points in 26 games), he’s clearly important to the Maple Leafs. In particular casual fans may underestimate his positive defensive impact.
Evolving Hockey captures Marner’s all-around impact nicely with this player card from the past few seasons.
Between injury issues and now this stint in NHL COVID protocol, it’s been a disruptive 2021-22 season for Marner (and, to be fair, many others). But he’s a tough player for Toronto to replace.
Pierre Engvall isn’t as prominent, naturally, but he’s a nice depth player.
With Marner and Engvall out, players like Alexander Kerfoot could take on bigger roles. It also opens the door for Nick Ritchie shortly after he was placed on waivers.
NHL postpones Senators games; Jets home game update
In a growing trend, the NHL postponed two Ottawa Senators games for capacity reasons. The Senators were originally slated to play on the road against the Canucks and the Jets on these dates:
Saturday, Jan. 8
Ottawa @ Vancouver
Saturday, Jan. 15
Ottawa @ Winnipeg
Once again, the NHL expressed hope that COVID-related capacity restrictions “may be eased or lifted.”
Speaking of the NHL dealing with COVID-related attendance challenges in Canada, the Jets won’t move their home games after all. After flirting with the idea of playing home games in Saskatoon, the Jets dropped that idea. As former PHT writer Scott Billeck notes, the Jets dropped the Saskatoon idea after considering fan feedback.
The #NHLJets will not move home games out of Winnipeg after fan feedback to the idea came back negative.
40% of respondents to a survey sent to season tickets holders yesterday disapproved of the idea, while 30% were neutral and 30% were supportive.
— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) January 7, 2022
Assorted NHL COVID and injury news, including Shesterkin
- In case you missed it, Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was a late addition to NHL COVID protocol. His Rangers ended up losing to the Golden Knights on Thursday.
- The Kraken expect Jaden Schwartz to miss about four-to-six weeks after suffering a hand injury that will require surgery.
- It may take time before the Wild get a full idea of Kirill Kaprizov‘s injury timeline.
- Other players added to NHL COVID protocol include Alexandre Texier (Blue Jackets) and Kailer Yamamoto (Oilers).
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.