Zach Aston-Reese could make his season debut for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, after being activated from the COVID protocol earlier today. It was nearly three weeks ago that Aston-Reese first tested positive for COVID-19, but after returning he ended up back on the list a few days ago. With Bryan Rust’s placement on injured reserve, the team has the roster spot available to activate Aston-Reese and potentially put him into the lineup for tonight’s game.
Though technically listed as a game-time decision, Aston-Reese’s return would be a nice boost for a Penguins team that has already secured three out of four available points this season. The 27-year-old forward has shown an ability to slot in almost anywhere in the lineup, even jumping on Sidney Crosby’s first-line wing at times. He doesn’t provide a ton of offense but did register a career-high with nine goals in 45 games last season.
The Penguins started the year with both Aston-Reese and Jake Guentzel out after positive COVID tests, but had the latter back in action against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. With Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and now Rust out, they will need all hands on deck as they welcome in Marc-Andre Fleury and the Chicago Blackhawks.