The New York Rangers have announced that Julien Gauthier has entered the COVID protocol, making him unavailable for the next few days at a minimum. The depth forward played just over nine minutes last night against the Vegas Golden Knights, but could now miss tomorrow’s match against the Anaheim Ducks and Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, if he tested positive.
The 24-year-old forward has once again been a frustrating mix of size, speed, and inconsistency for the Rangers this season, registering two goals and five points in 26 games. The 6’4″, 227-lbs Gauthier was a first-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2016 but has still never grown into his top-six, power forward potential. Through 73 NHL games he has struggled to find the back of the net even when he creates a dangerous chance, and now holds a 4.3% shooting percentage for his career.
With Dryden Hunt also missing practice due to an upper-body injury, the Rangers are down a pair of bottom-six wingers. That could open an opportunity for someone else, though Panarin is eligible to exit the protocol as soon as he tests negative.