Grubauer, Rantanen and Donskoi could return for Avalanche on Friday
Philipp grubauer, Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi could each return to the Colorado Avalanche roster when they host the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
Each had been in the NHL COVID-19 protocol but were withdrawn. No player is expected to play when Avalanche visits the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
“I think those three guys are a possibility for Friday which would be great,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said on Tuesday.
Grubauer, a goalkeeper, and Donskoi, a forward, each missed four games after testing positive. Rantanen missed three games due to contact tracing.
Grubauer was placed in protocol on April 14 and is expected to be out for at least two weeks. He was taken out of protocol on Friday and returned to skating on Tuesday.
“Trying to rebuild it so that we can be the starter for us, hopefully on Friday,” Bednar said. “He’s out on the ice today for the first time. He’s been in the building with us for three or four days training and working on his conditioning, strengthening his groin and abdomen and whatever. He must do.”
Grubauer is 25-8-1 in 34 games with a 2.00 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and five shutouts. He was tied for the NHL lead in wins with Andrei Vasilevskiy the Tampa Bay Lightning; Grubaure now drags Vasilevskiy in threes.
“He feels really good,” Bednar said. “I don’t want to rush him. He won’t play for us tomorrow after some pre-game skating and skating, but if he feels good for Friday then that’s a possibility.”
Donskoi, who was placed in protocol on April 16, was sent off on Monday and will return to the ice on Thursday. He scored 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 42 games.
Rantanen, who had been in protocol since April 20, was sent off on Monday and skated on Tuesday. He has scored 52 points (26 goals, 26 assists) in 43 games.
“Mikko is on the ice and getting ready to play,” Bednar said. “He was not feeling well, he was in bad weather, and now he is feeling good, so he will prepare as soon as we can get him back. I hope it’s Friday.
“Donskoi [has] a little later in the timeline, but he feels good, he works out on his own and takes the heart tests. “
The Avalanche, who had three games postponed from April 16 to 20 due to COVID-19 protocols, have lost two games to the Saint-Louis Blues after going 18-1-2 in the previous 21 games.
Colorado (31-11-4), who clinched a Stanley Cup playoff berth, is second in the Honda West Division, four points behind Vegas.