St. Louis Blues forward Brandon Saad is skating Saturday after spending the past nine days on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, per Blues reporter Chris Pinkert. Saad is expected to return to the lineup for their Wednesday game against the Los Angeles Kings. He’s ineligible to play in Saturday night’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks. It appears to be a huge boost for the Blues, who are also without captain Ryan O’Reilly as he was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list on October 26. Saad had two points in three games before being placed in the protocol, but his absence has caused him to miss the last three (that number will be made four tonight). In his absence, younger forwards such as Klim Kostin and Jake Neighbours have gotten extended looks in the lineup.
Other injury notes from around the league on Saturday:
- Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reports defenseman Samuel Girard will return to the lineup for tonight’s home game against the Minnesota Wild. Expected to play on a pairing with Erik Johnson, it’s another step closer to full health for a Colorado blueline that’s faced injuries to their best two left-shot defensemen early on this season. Girard missed Colorado’s last two games after suffering an injury on a hit from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos at the end of a game on October 23.
- Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol issued injury updates today on forward Mason Appleton and goaltender Chris Driedger. Appleton was placed on injured reserve today and is now out indefinitely, while Driedger is now labeled as day-to-day. Kraken reporter Bob Condor relays information that Driedger practiced today, and could potentially work his way into game action as the Kraken have a back-to-back this Sunday and Monday. Appleton was in the midst of a rough start to his Kraken tenure, posting just one assist in seven games and playing just 11:14 per game.
- The Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope reports that Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson suffered an apparent arm or wrist injury during the team’s 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, if not more time. Johnson was playing in a top-line role, flanking Kirby Dach along with Dominik Kubalik prior to the injury with Patrick Kane in COVID-19 protocol. Johnson’s scored one goal and two assists in eight games this season. Forward Dylan Strome could draw into the lineup tonight in his place.