Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is unavailable for Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets due to COVID-19 protocol, the team announced. He is now the second Capitals player in league protocol, joining Nic Dowd who was declared out on Friday.
This will likely mean either Dennis Cholowski gets back in or Matt Irwin will make his Capitals debut Saturday. It is unlikely the team will make a recall from AHL affiliate Hershey at the moment as the Bears are dealing with COVID issues of their own and had their games postponed through the weekend.
The status of the rest of the team will have to be closely monitored in the coming days to prevent an outbreak. This is now two players in two days entering the league's protocol. Forward Lars Eller spent 10-days in the NHL's COVID protocols during Washington's west coast road trip last month.
Based on how the NHL has handled various outbreaks this season, the likelihood of any postponements in the near future, however, seems remote. The league has been loath to postpone games this season and has only done it in extreme cases when a team seems unable to stop an outbreak within the locker room.
Two players in two days is a concern, but not close to the level teams like Ottawa or the New York Islanders demonstrated before they had games pushed back.
The Capitals are in the middle of a four-game homestand and will host Columbus on Saturday night, the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.