5:27 pm: Per the Senators’ communications team, defenseman Nikita Zaitsev has also been placed in COVID-19 protocol just a half-hour ahead of Thursday’s game. Lassi Thomson will make his NHL debut tonight in place of Zaitsev.
9:35 am: Another day, another pair of unavailable players for the Ottawa Senators. The team has announced that Alex Formenton and Matt Murray have been placed in the COVID protocol. Andrew Agozzino, Dillon Heatherington, and Lassi Thomson have all been recalled from the AHL as tonight’s game is still currently scheduled to proceed.
Formenton and Murray join a growing list of players in the protocol for Ottawa, which also includes Connor Brown, Victor Mete, Austin Watson, Nick Holden, Dylan Gambrell, Josh Brown, and assistant coach Jack Capuano. That is a huge chunk of the team, including several important pieces. The Senators are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Kings this evening, before welcoming in the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames for a back-to-back over the weekend.
The team did not confirm whether Formenton and Murray tested positive, only that they have been entered into the protocol.
In terms of call-ups, Thomson is certainly an interesting one given his experience to this point. The 21-year-old defenseman has yet to play a game at the NHL level, but is showing well in the minor leagues. Selected 19th overall in 2019, he has two points in six games with the Belleville Senators this season.