Dec 29: After getting in one game last night, the Canadiens have placed two more in the COVID protocol today. Paul Byron and Cayden Primeau are both now unavailable and join the rest of the absences in the protocol. Byron was closing in on a return from injury and Primeau was expected to play this weekend with Allen unavailable. McNiven will now likely be recalled to backup Sam Montembeault.
Dec 27: The Montreal Canadiens have added another five players to the COVID protocol today, recalling a handful of replacements in the process. Jake Allen, Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry, and Chris Wideman have entered the protocol, along with goaltending coach Eric Raymond. The team has recalled Cayden Primeau and Corey Schueneman to the active roster, while also bringing up Brandon Baddock, Gianni Fairbrother, Cam Hillis, and Michael McNiven to the taxi squad. The team will travel to Florida where they are currently scheduled to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night.
The new five will join Laurent Dauphin, Mike Hoffman, Artturi Lehkonen, and Tyler Toffoli, who were already in the protocol. The team also has almost countless injuries, meaning it’s not quite the full Montreal experience heading to face the Lightning. In a lost season for the Canadiens, nearly everything that could have gone wrong has, and they find themselves near the very bottom of the league standings.
If the games are played as scheduled, the team will no longer have to play short after the league amended the salary cap and emergency exception rules yesterday. Still, these recalls bring them close to the organizational limit; Primeau and McNiven were the only two other goaltenders in the organization signed to NHL contracts.