UPDATE: According to coach Jared Bednar, Rantanen has not tested positive (yet). He was added to the protocol list due to contact tracing. He has been separated from the team but could re-join them by the second half of the road trip - assuming he keeps testing negative.
The same situation happened to Maple Leafs forward William Nylander last week and he missed a week of play. The same timeline would result in Mikko missing at least two games with a return to the lineup next Monday or Wednesday in Vegas.
Tuesday afternoon, Colorado Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen has been added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The news comes one day before the club was scheduled to return to practice after being shut down last week.
The team’s season was put on hold when Bo Byram, Philipp Grubabuer and Joonas Donskoi all tested positive last week. Byram was removed from the list on Monday but the others all remain there with Rantanen. It is the second time this season, the Avalanche were shut down out of an abundance of caution.
For now, the Avalanche are still scheduled to get back on the ice this morning with their next game scheduled for Thursday evening in St. Louis. Another new positive test within the team now puts that timeline in jeopardy.
Rantanen’s 26 goals in 43 games puts him second in the NHL, trailing only Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews.
Along with Nazem Kadri, Rantanen is one of only two Avalanche players to play in very game for the Avalanche this season. That will now change.