The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The team announced updates to their list of players in health and safety protocols on Wednesday afternoon, revealing that forward Paul Byron and goaltender Cayden Primeau have been added following last night’s game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That now brings the number of Canadiens players in COVID protocols to a whopping 11, with goaltending coach Eric Raymond also on the shelf, making them among the hardest-hit teams by the virus this season.
Including today’s new arrivals of Byron and Primeau, the players currently unavailable to the Canadiens due to COVID-19 are Laurent Dauphin, Mike Hoffman, Artturi Lehkonen, Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Jeff Petry, Joel Edmunson, Chris Wideman, and Jake Allen.
It appears as if the re-institution of taxi squads came just in time.
With nearly their entire blueline and a good chunk of their top-six forwards in COVID protocols, the Canadiens reportedly promoted Louie Belpedio and Brandon Baddock to the active roster prior to Tuesday night’s contest with Tampa Bay.
It’s unclear as to whether the Quebec government will allow the Canadiens to abide by the NHL’s decision to decrease the isolation period for players who test positive from 10 days to five. If they do, the Habs will be able to rebuild their depleted lineup twice as fast as they otherwise would.