Just a few hours before the Chicago Blackhawks were set to take the ice against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the United Center, a pair of its forwards were made unavailable.
Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, meaning neither will be able to play against the Canadiens. In their absences, Lukas Reichel, Brandon Hael and Sam Lafferty were moved to the active roster:
Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome have been placed in COVID protocol and are out for tonight’s game. #Blackhawks officially add Lukas Reichel, Brandon Hagel and Sam Lafferty to the active roster as well. https://t.co/6a4kRqkapo— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) January 13, 2022
Chicago has three more games coming up in the next five days: it plays the Anaheim Ducks at home on Saturday before hitting the road to face the Seattle Kraken next Monday and the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Depending on how their stints in the protocol go, Dach and Strome may be able to return for that Tuesday game. If not, the next targeted return game for them would be next Friday at home against the Minnesota Wild.
In 36 games this season, Dach has six goals and eight assists — a season that’s been a struggle for the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Strome, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has been in-and-out of the lineup all season, playing in only 26 games with three goals and seven assists.
Their absences could lead to an expanded role for Reichel, the Blackhawks No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, who’s going to make his NHL debut on Thursday night against the Canadiens.
[UPDATE] In other news, the Blackhawks have one all-star player, although a second could be joining:
Alex DeBrincat is #Blackhawks All-Star representative.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) January 13, 2022
Seth Jones is the 'Last Man In' candidate.
Here is Jones’ competition:
The "Last Man In" All-Star Team vote for the Central Division is going to be a blood bath:— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 13, 2022
Roman Josi (!)
Nazem Kadri (!!)
Phil Kessel (!!!)
Jason Robertson (!!!!)