NHL Roundup: New strict COVID protocols released; multiple signings; and Kotkaniemi extension?

The NHL's new COVID protocols can suspend players.

By Forever Blueshirts
NHL COVID protocols
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to attendees during “Sports Teams for Social Change,” hosted by Beyond Sport United on September 27, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Yesterday, the NHL released its new COVID protocols for the 2021-22 season which does indeed allow for the suspension of unvaccinated players with some exceptions.

Any players that are unable to participate in club activities due to COVID can be suspended, which would include travel preventing them from playing. Those players would “forfeit the equivalent of one day’s pay for each day” as the protocol states.

NHL COVID protocols have some exceptions

The exceptions for unvaccinated players who contract COVID and are unable to participate in club activities are for medical reasons, religious beliefs, infection occurred as result of employment as a hockey player, quarantine due to exposure, and “balance of probabilities.”

Some of these exemptions are clear, there still seems to be a level of interpretation that comes with others. If exposure occurred as a result of employment as a hockey player, does that mean unvaccinated players who get COVID during a game are not going to lose money? The other is balance of probabilities which is the vaguest of them all. The protocol reads; “on the basis of a balance of the probabilities, that the player failed to comply with the terms of this protocol in a manner that was reasonably related to his contraction of COVID-19 and/or any resulting or related illness.”

Vaccinated players who contract COVID will be considered injured.

For more details check out the story on Sportsnet.

NHL Transactions

The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Joel Farabee to a six-year, $30 million contract extension Thursday. The deal will take effect starting in the 2022-23 season.

Farabee, 21, was the No. 14 overall selection by the Flyers in the 2018 NHL Draft.

The Buffalo Sabres re-signed forward Casey Mittelstadt to a three-year, $7.5 million contract Thursday. The 22-year-old restricted free agent finished strong in 2021-22 with nine goals and 17 points in the final 28 games of the regular season.

Mittelstadt finished the season third on the team in goals (10) and fourth in points (22) in 41 games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed journeyman goaltender Louis Domingue to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000 at the NHL level Thursday.

Domingue, who joins his sixth NHL club, gives Pittsburgh more experience behind No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry and backup Casey DeSmith.

Hurricanes may have Kotkaniemi extension in place?

nhl roundup
Dec 1, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) makes a save against Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) shot during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

In all the drama and trolling that transpired out of the Carolina Hurricanes offer sheeting Jesperi Kotkaniemi, was the little tidbit that an extension may have already been discussed.

According to Elliotte Friedman, a longer term deal may be coming if the Montreal Canadiens decide not to match by this Saturday.

“I think they also discussed the potential of what a long-term deal would look like before they signed him to this deal.,“ Friedman said on his last podcast. “I think they said, if we can do this for term, what would we be looking at? My guess is Carolina knows exactly what a long-term deal looks like and I’m also betting it’s not at $6.1 million a year.”

Kotkaniemi, 21, had five goals and 15 assists in 56 games last season. In three NHL seasons, all with Montreal, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 has scored 22 goals and added 40 assists in 171 games.

NHL Teams that could surprise!

Can the Rangers make some noise this season? Read here.

-Field Level Media contributed to this report.