For the San Jose Sharks, things are set to resume tomorrow night against the Arizona Coyotes. They are expected to have Brent Burns back in the lineup for that game, keeping his games played streak intact after he exited the COVID protocol today. It wasn’t all good news though, as Adin Hill has been added to the protocol, forcing the club to recall Zachary Sawchenko to serve as the backup goaltender. Nicholas Merkley has also been recalled to the taxi squad.
Hill joins Jonathan Dahlen and Tomas Hertl, who remain in the protocol for the time being but should be eligible to return soon. They both entered on December 21 and have been experiencing only mild symptoms.
Burns’ return is an important one, given his role on the team, but Hill’s absence is going to put even more pressure on James Reimer. The veteran netminder is having a career year with a .936 save percentage through 16 appearances but hasn’t logged more than 36 in a single season since 2017-18. Even then, Reimer has never really been a workhorse, never playing more than 43 games in a single year. Hill won’t be able to give him a break anytime soon, and Sawchenko certainly doesn’t appear ready for NHL action.
The 23-year-old undrafted netminder has an .859 save percentage in nine appearances for the San Jose Barracuda this season. Alexei Melnichuk would likely be the preferred recall, but he is also currently in the protocol along with several other Barracuda players.