The Penguins received some good and bad news on the COVID front today. The team announced (Twitter link) that winger Evan Rodrigues has been removed from protocols but center Jeff Carter has been placed in COVID protocol. Rodrigues is in the middle of a career year for Pittsburgh with 23 points in 30 games while seeing regular minutes on the top line so he’ll be a welcome return. Meanwhile, it’s the second time this season that Carter has been placed in COVID protocol. The veteran is having a nice year in a top-six role, notching 17 points in 27 games so far. Pittsburgh currently has eight players in COVID protocol.
More from the Metropolitan Division:
- While Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev isn’t thrilled about his current lack of playing time, Arthur Staple of The Athletic suggests (subscription link) that the team is unlikely to trade the netminder in advance of the March 21st trade deadline. With Igor Shesterkin’s injury history and the fact that Keith Kinkaid is their next best option, Georgiev may very well be more valuable to New York as an insurance policy than as a trade chip. Accordingly, a move in the offseason when their cap situation gets trickier and more replacements are available seems like a better time for the netminder to be moved.
- Blue Jackets winger Gregory Hofmann has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, notes Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link). The 29-year-old has seven points in 24 games in his first NHL season after his rights were acquired from Carolina last season. His wife is expecting the birth of their first child soon so there is no firm date yet for his return.
- While there was plenty of speculation at the time that Jesperi Kotkaniemi signed his one-year, $6.1MM offer sheet with Carolina that the framework of a longer-term extension was also discussed, GM Don Waddell told Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription link) that there have been no discussions on that front as of yet. The 21-year-old is eligible to sign an extension as of Saturday but is off to a quieter start than he and the Hurricanes were hoping for as he has 14 points in 30 games this season while playing just 12:15 per game. As a result, finding a price tag that both sides are comfortable with for a long-term contract may be difficult at this point. Carolina will need to tender a $6.1MM qualifying offer this summer if no extension is reached by then.