The Carolina Hurricanes have lost another two defensemen, as both Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo have been added to the COVID protocol. The two will remain in Raleigh while the rest of the team travels to Dallas, suggesting they won’t be available tomorrow night at the very least. If the pair has tested positive–which the Hurricanes did not confirm–and have experienced any symptoms, they will be held out for a minimum of ten days.
The New York Rangers also have an unavailable player, as Greg McKegg will not skate today after entering the protocol. Like the Hurricanes, the Rangers have not confirmed whether or not McKegg tested positive for coronavirus, only that he will miss today’s practice with a COVID-related absence.
Ethan Bear had already been unavailable for the Hurricanes after entering the protocol a week ago, meaning a huge swathe of the team’s defense corps is now out of the lineup. The Hurricanes had been using Brendan Smith more than they likely expected, but now will also likely have to make some additional recalls. Like with the San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders, and Ottawa Senators, who have all faced severe outbreaks this season, the Hurricanes aren’t likely to receive any help from the league in terms of postponements unless things get much worse.
Already the Hurricanes had been faltering a bit of late, losing the Metropolitan Division lead after a 6-3-1 run. If they want to catch the Washington Capitals (who have played two more games) in the coming days, they’ll have to do it with a defense group that isn’t quite as established. Pesce logs more ice time than anyone not named Jaccob Slavin, while DeAngelo has been one of the best point-producing defensemen in the league this season with 19 in 20 games.