Danton Heinen, Ben Hutton, Jacob Larsson and Anthony Stolarz exited the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Thursday, after spending roughly 48 hours on it. Alexander Volkov, the newest Duck, went onto the list after he was acquired Wednesday from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Volkov, a 23-year-old right wing, must quarantine for seven days before he can join the Ducks for a practice or a game, in accordance with the league’s protocol for traded players. The earliest he could make his Ducks debut would be April 2 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Heinen, Hutton, Larsson and Stolarz were unavailable to play in the Ducks’ loss Wednesday to the Wild in St. Paul, Minnesota, quarantined in their Twin Cities hotel rooms. The NHL doesn’t reveal why players are placed on the list, but there are numerous reasons they could be on it.

While no further details were provided by the Ducks or the NHL, the four players were reunited with their teammates Thursday, traveled with them to St. Louis and practiced with them at Enterprise Center.

“We have been preparing for so long for this,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “Our staff was ready for it and we went by the book and got everybody situated and, lo and behold, it was a false alarm. I’m proud of the way we handled it and, thankfully, none of those kids have COVID and they don’t have to deal with it and we can keep marching forward.”

The Ducks face the Blues in a two-game set Friday and Sunday. They complete their season-long five-game trip Monday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. They play host to the Coyotes for a two-game set April 2 and 4, when they’re likely to get their first look at Volkov.

One member of the Ducks has already seen Volkov up close, though. Volkov and Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk were teammates and Stanley Cup champions last season with the Lightning. Volkov played nine regular-season games and one more in the playoffs with Tampa Bay.

It was enough time for Shattenkirk to form a favorable impression.

“He’s a great kid,” Shattenkirk said. “Pretty soft spoken. Young guy who works hard on the ice. I think he takes a lot of pride in that. He has a lot of skill. I think he’s someone who can be a difference maker and make plays for us and find those pucks around the net and put them in the net for us, as well.

“He takes care of both ends of the ice and, especially for us last year (with Tampa Bay), he played in the bottom line roles so he knew what his job was and he took it proudly and did it to a T.”

Volkov was caught in a numbers game with Tampa Bay, which was why the Lightning were willing to ship him to the Ducks in exchange for Antoine Morand, a center with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL, and a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2023.

In 19 games this season, Volkov had three goals and two assists in an average of less than 10 minutes of ice time per game.

“They have their guys in the pipeline and some of the guys who are in the lineup now are guys who grew within the organization,” Shattenkirk said of the Lightning. “(Volkov) was someone who was in line to maybe come in and fill in one of those spots in the future, but it looked like they had a situation where they had to unload and make some moves in order to get their lineup straight.

- Advertisement -
Boatsetter