WINNIPEG — Nikolaj Ehlers’ position in the starting lineup for the Winnipeg Jets season opener on Thursday is up in the air.
The NHL released its list of players who are not allowed to play or practice on Jan. 13 due to its COVID-19 Protocol Related Absences. Ehlers was one of those players on the list.
“Beginning today, and continuing for the balance of the season, the NHL will be sharing the names of Players who are ‘unavailable’ to the Club,” the league said in the news release.
Players can end up on the list for a handful of reasons, including receiving a positive test that hasn’t been confirmed, isolating because the player is showing COVID-19 symptoms, isolating because the player is a “high-risk close contact”, isolating because of confirmed positive test, or quarantining due to travel or other reasons.
Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said this is something all teams are going to have to deal with throughout the season.
“So there is going to be times out of an abundance of caution, say a player comes to the rink and has the sniffles, he is going to get tested, temperature checked, tested and sent home,” he said. “Then there is a protocol that’s going to have to be followed after that and there’s not going to be a time frame that is essentially attached to anything in that protocol. It’s all going to be tested related.”
Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice said there is a range of possibilities for Ehlers.
“I think him playing tomorrow night is in the range of possibilities,” said Maurice. “There is a spectrum of things that causes you to be on the acronym squad and any one of those may have a different outcome.”
The NHL said it will update the list daily and added no additional details will be provided.
Ehlers is not the only player on a Canadian team to make this list.
Gaetan Haas and James Neal are on it for the Edmonton Oilers, and Jordie Benn and J.T Miller are on for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Jets will start their season against the Calgary Flames at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
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