In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news developing around as many as 11 players testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. What does that mean for camps and why has one person’s name apparently been released? Could the Vancouver Canucks get Micheal Ferland back? And, in some fun Oilers news, a Connor McDavid rookie card sold for over $100K USD this weekend.
NHL and Maple Leafs Won’t Confirm Auston Matthews Rumors
Earlier Friday, reports surfaced that a number of players from around the NHL were testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. By the time tests had finished coming through, the total number of players reached 11 out of 200 players at Phase 2 camps.
Among them, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reported that Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has tested positive and gone into quarantine at his home in Arizona. Simmons took a lot of heat for naming Matthews as the NHL’s policy is not to release medical information for players unless the player decides to release that information on their own.
Matthews, who is in the first year of a five-year $58 million deal with the Leafs, is by no means alone in contracting the virus in Arizona, where cases have spiked in recent days. According to sources, a numbers of unidentified Arizona Coyotes players, who were training alongside Matthews, also tested positive recently. Players on other NHL teams have tested positive over the past few months. None have been identified publicly.source – ‘Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews tests positive for COVID-19’ – Steve Simmonds – Toronto Sun-06/19/2020
The Maple Leafs released the following statement to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet:
Per the National Hockey League protocol with respect to COVID-19, the Toronto Maple Leafs will not be commenting on reports surrounds testing for any of the club’s players or staff. A person’s medical information in this regard is private. The club will defer to the NHL’s policy on handling the disclosure of positive tests results, in that the league will provide updates on a regular basis with aggregate totals of the numbers of tests conducted and number of positive tests reported without disclosing either the identities of affected clubs or players.
At this point, a number of outlets are confirming that Matthews did test positive but the NHL, the Maple Leafs, and Matthews himself have not spoken on the matter, nor confirmed the reports.
Toronto’s Frederik Andersen had been living with Matthews in Arizona for much of this pause in play but is no longer in Arizona and Simmons adds that he has not tested positive.
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Lightning Release Statement Regarding Positive Tests
After news surfaced regarding the positive tests, the Tampa Bay Lightning issued a statement through GM Julien BriseBois:
We have learned that three players and additional staff members have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those players have been self-isolated following CDC protocals and are asymptomatic other than a few cases of low-grade fever. Those who have been in contact with these individuals have been notified. The Lightning continue testing and are strictly following all NHL and government procedures as part of the league’s Phase 2 guidelines. Upon receiving positive tests yesterday, team training facilities were immediately closed with all players and staff being sent home. Those facilities will remain temporarily shut down until we can ensure a safe environment.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the facility would be temporarily shut down for Phase 2 after three Lightning players and two staff members were learned to have the disease. The expectation is that if all other players and staff test negative, the facility will re-open. McKenzie also notes: “Also, as the NHL ramps up the frequency of testing, which I understand is happening and will continue to go up, there are bound to be some more positive tests.”
Related: 7 Cool Things About Auston Matthews
Canucks Could Get Ferland Back
Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland has resumed skating after reports that he might not be able to make a comeback in time to join the team for any games this season. Ferland is battling concussion issues, but Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 reports things are looking positive for the power forward.
At this point, Ferland’s return is still being described as a step-by-step process.
Could Blues Bring Back Shattenkirk?
Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic notes in a recent mailbag segment that if Alex Pietrangelo doesn’t re-sign with the St. Louis Blues, don’t expect the St. Louis Blues to bring back Kevin Shattenkirk.
Shattenkirk’s departure from St. Louis wasn’t smooth, but beyond that, he’s 31 years old and the club doesn’t need him with Parayko and Justin Faulk on the right side. Yes, Shattenkirk has looked good with Tampa Bay this season, but it’s a great fit for him. I’m sorry — his Blues days are over.source -‘Blues mailbag: Who will get a statue, Scott Perunovich’s status and more’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 06/19/2020
McDavid Rookie Card Sells for $135,811
If Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid wasn’t already the best player in the world by multiple measures, you can add a top-selling hockey card to his list of accolades. Per Darren Rovell of The Action Network, McDavid’s 2015-16 Upper Deck “The Cup” rookie patch autographed card sold for $113K on Friday.
The rookie patch autograph card sold for the crazy amount in the Lelands Spring Classic Auction and because the purchaser will pay a 20% buyer’s premium that goes to the auction house, the total comes to $135,811.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”