As suggested by the team’s AHL assignments this morning, the San Jose Sharks have removed seven players from the COVID protocol. Kevin Labanc, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Jacob Middleton, Matthew Nieto, Radim Simek, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have all been removed from the protocol and added back to the active roster. Head coach Bob Boughner, head trainer Ray Tufts and equipment manager Mike Aldrich have also all been removed from the protocol.
Sasha Chmelevski, Joel Kellman, Artemi Kniazev, John Leonard, Ryan Merkley, Jaycob Megna, and Nicolas Meloche have all been assigned to the AHL. Nicholas Merkley, who had also been recalled with this group, remains with San Jose for the time being.
It’s obviously a huge moment for the Sharks, as they receive a good portion of their regular lineup back in time for tomorrow’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The team is sitting at 7-5-1 on the season and is still well within striking range of the division playoff spots. Getting back key options like Labanc, Karlsson and Meier will only help them as they try to chase down the teams ahead of them.
Activating the group from the protocol is also a good sign that the team has this outbreak behind them, or at least contained. The activated players were actually able to skate in recent days, though they would not have been able to join the team in Canada given their recent positive tests. They’ll now be able to join the group in Denver, nearly two weeks after originally entering the protocol.