When the Edmonton Oilers kicked off training camp, four players (Gaetan Haas, Dominik Kahun, James Neal, and Devin Shore) were listed as unfit to play.
Kahun and Shore have since started practicing and participating in scrimmages while both Neal and Haas have not yet hit the ice. We don’t know yet if Neal will be ready for opening night on Wednesday when the Oilers are scheduled to face the Vancouver Canucks, but it was reported on Monday that Haas will not.
According to the Swiss Hockey News, Haas was diagnosed with COVID-19 back on Dec. 28 and he isn’t able to start practicing with the team until Jan. 13.
“Until January 13 I’m not allowed to go on the ice or show up at the rink,” Haas said. “I didn’t have any energy and was very tired. I didn’t even dare to train. I was only able to start again last Wednesday.”
Jason Gregor reported back when camp opened that Haas wouldn’t be available but the player wouldn’t confirm at that time if it was due to a positive COVID result.
During the regular season, a player who tests positive for COVID will be eligible to be placed on the team’s Long-Term Injury/Illness list. The player will be considered “unfit to play” for “the longer of 10 games and 24 days from the date of the confirmed positive.”
But since Haas started his quarantine during the off-season, he’ll be able to join the team in the next few days, and he’ll be able to start playing once he’s up to game speed. We really have no idea how long that’s going to take because we don’t know the extent to which Haas was affected by COVID, but, based on his quote, it sounds like it was a rough time.
Haas’ situation coupled with Jujhar Khaira getting placed on waivers puts Edmonton’s fourth-line centre position in question. Ryan McLeod, the team’s second-round pick from the 2018 draft, has impressed at camp while the team also has a veteran option, Devin Shore, in the mix on a professional tryout.