The Red Wings are going to be without some key players when they hit the ice to take on the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night. Christ Johnston reports that the team has placed defenseman Jon Merrill and forward Sam Gagner on the NHL COVID protocol list:
Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ), Sam Gagner (DET) and Jon Merrill (DET) have been added to the NHL's COVID Protocol list.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 21, 2021
Merrill and Gagner join forwards Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri, who were placed on the COVID protocol list a few days ago. This leaves the Red Wings without one of their top defensemen, and centers. The team could be without Merrill and Gagner for a couple of weeks.
Here’s how the NHL defines “COVID protocol related absences:” They can be the result of a variety of factors: (1) an initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the positive test protocol; (2) mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals; (3) required quarantine as a high-risk close contact; (4) isolation based on a confirmed positive test result and/or; (5) quarantine for travel or other reasons.
Red Wings defenseman Christian Djoos recently began practicing with the team following his mandatory quarantine period after being claimed off waivers. Helene St. James reported early Thursday that both Djoos and Darren Helm could play Friday night. Fabbri and Erne, for obvious reasons, will not be traveling with the team.
This signals that a call up from the taxi squad would be imminent. We should be getting more information in the hours ahead. The Red Wings will play the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night at 8pm ET. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit.