Senators place Zaitsev in COVID protocol; Thomson to make NHL debut

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The Ottawa Senators have placed defenceman Nikita Zaitsev in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

Lassi Thomson will replace Zaitsev in the lineup as he will make his NHL debut against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday. Thomson was selected 19th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and was recalled from the AHL’s Belleville Senators.

This now brings the total number of Senators players sidelined for a virus-related reason so far to nine. Ottawa had placed Alex Formenton and goaltender Matt Murray in COVID protocol Thursday morning.

An individual entering the protocol does not necessarily mean they have tested positive for the virus. However, the impacts on Ottawa’s roster have been stark, and worsened in recent days.

Defenceman Josh Brown entered the league’s protocols on Wednesday, leading to the cancellation of practice for precautionary reasons.

Forwards Austin Watson, Dylan Gambrell and Connor Brown and defencemen Victor Mete and Nick Holden were all previously placed in COVID protocol as well.

Jack Capuano, an associate coach on the team, is also in the league’s protocols.

With the sheer volume of players unable to play, a re-calibration of the team’s lines was needed.

Monday’s Senators practice was called for precautionary reasons amid the outbreak as well.

At this time, the Senators’ game on Thursday against the Kings is still set to be played.

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