ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals will see Lars Eller enter the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol for the second time this season.
Washington placed the Danish center on COVID-19 protocol on Monday. Per the team, he underwent testing as part of the requirement to cross back over from Canada to the U.S. and tested positive.
Eller was the first Capitals player to test positive for COVID-19 and enter protocol this season after picking up the virus in November. The 32-year-old center has nine goals and 14 assists through 53 games this season. Back on Friday, he scored the overtime winner for Washington, which would be his first goal in 11 games and first point in 10 games.
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With Eller on the shelf, the Capitals now have 12 healthy forwards on the roster. Carl Hagelin is out long-term following a “serious” eye injury, and Joe Snively is week-to-week. While Washington does have enough pieces to fill the void on forward, center is a big void to fill, especially with Eller also playing a role on the PK and ranking second in face-off win percentage (50.3)
The Capitals have struggled down the middle and have seen numerous injuries there this season, and also continue to struggle when it comes to draws. T.J. Oshie can play pivot if need be, though the second line with him, Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha has been finding a bit of an identity of late. Connor McMichael can technically move to the center, and Daniel Sprong would be able to fill in on the wing to help out, but McMichael has seen more success at wing to start his career.
Washington practices at 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday and faces off against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. It’s still possible for the team to make another call-up.