The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens were a late scratch from the NHL menu on Monday night, roughly 90 minutes after two Canadiens players were added to the COVID-19 Protocol List. Now? The entire series is off the menu. The NHL announced on Tuesday that the Montreal Canadiens will be shutdown through Sunday, March 28th.
As a result, tomorrow night’s game with the Oilers and Friday night’s contest will be postponed. The Canadiens were also supposed to play the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night. As of right now, the Canadiens will be allowed to regroup on the ice Monday morning. That, however, is subject to change.
For the Oilers, it means they will have their longest break of the season. Edmonton will have six days off between games. The Oilers last game was a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, and their next game is a crucial matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
The Oilers will have just two games over the next nine days. The club will conclude the season series with Toronto on Monday night, then head home for days off on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Edmonton will kick off their April slate against the Calgary Flames on Friday night, April 2nd.
After playing one of the most compact schedules in the NHL, the Oilers will get some much needed rest to recharge ahead of the final stretch run.
Makeup Dates TBA:
As of now, there are no makeup dates for these three games. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeted the following, which speculates that these games will be tacked on to the end of the regular season, thus extending the season a number of days.
“One of the impacts, I believe, will be the NHL having to schedule games past Monday, May 10, which it had been able to avoid so far. But the schedule is so jammed in the second half, I think it’s unavoidable for Montreal and Edmonton. Which will delay the start of the playoffs.”
Edmonton heads out east one more time during the course of this regular season, but will play two of their three games in Ottawa. That greatly limits the flexibility for the team to squeeze any of these three games in.
The NHL has plenty of experience tinkering with the schedule, as the Central and East divisions have had multiple COVID postponements this season. While the league could simply tack these games on to the end of the schedule, they could also move the puzzle pieces around. That, however, would almost certainly impact multiple teams.
Trade Window Now Open?:
The Edmonton Oilers will play just two games in the next nine days. That’s a significant chunk of a 14-day quarantine. That opens the door for the Oilers to make a trade with an American team, as it would maximize the return on investment for the team. Over the next 14 days, Edmonton plays a total of five games. That’s minimal lost time.
If the Oilers are finally going to pull the trigger on the trade that brings Taylor Hall home, now is the time. If they plan on prying Rickard Rakell from Anaheim, now is the time. Want Luke Glendening for the penalty kill? Now is your chance.
Now, it’s uncertain if Holland will actually pull the trigger on that kind of move. The Oilers are in a tough spot when it comes to the salary cap, and the veteran GM moved a lot of draft assets at the 2020 deadline. That being said, a bad situation can be spun into a good one if the Oilers take this break in the schedule to mitigate COVID-19 quarantine time. We’ll see if they take advantage of this trade window.
Make no mistake, the window has swung open.