Kraken have 5 players in COVID protocol on eve of opener

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Kraken are expected to be without five players for the season opener at Vegas due to COVID-19 protocols, coach Dave Hakstol said Monday.

Forwards Jared McCann, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Johansson, and defenseman Jamie Oleksiak were placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. Forward Calle Jarnkrok has been in the protocol since late last week. McCann, Oleksiak, Donskoi and Johansson were all missing from Monday’s final practice before the team departed for Las Vegas.

Seattle general manager Ron Francis said at the start of training camp that the entire roster had been vaccinated. But it’s awful timing for the Kraken on the eve of the first game in franchise history.

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“Things happen quickly and sometimes at inopportune times,” Hakstol said. “There’s different challenges as you go throughout the season and this is one of them for us early on.”

McCann has been centering Seattle’s top line alongside Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz. Donskoi and Johansson are expected to fill in on the second or third lines, and Oleksiak is a likely top-four defensive pairing for Seattle.

Hakstol said the roster was being shuffled to make sure it was filled ahead of heading to Vegas. That included Seattle claiming young forward Alex Barre-Boulet off waivers from the Lightning. Hakstol said depending on travel, Barre-Boulet could join the team in Vegas in time for the opener.

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