Defencemen Louie Belpedio and Gianni Fairbrother are the two players. Belpedio was the team’s seventh defenceman. Fairbrother was on the team’s taxi squad.
Gianni Fairbrother and Louie Belpedio have been placed on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.https://t.co/mRvcktdVKB— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 30, 2021
This makes it 13 players on COVID-19 protocol, including injured players Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson, and Paul Byron. Byron and Cayden Primeau were added to the list on Wednesday. Artturi Lehkonen will be the first person off of COVID-19 protocol but will need to skate before returning to game action, and will not re-join the team until they get back to Montreal.
The extra bodies on the NHL roster as it stands is forward Brandon Baddock. Forward Cameron Hillis is on the taxi squad if needed. Michael McNiven, who was on the taxi squad, will be Samuel Montembeault’s backup for the time being. Ducharme said that the team may make further recalls ahead of Saturday’s game in Florida.
Currently, only forward Jean-Sébastien Dea is healthy in Laval on an NHL contract and is eligible to be recalled. If the team wants to recall a defenceman, they will need to sign a player currently in Laval or use an emergency recall on someone like Arber Xhekaj or Kaiden Guhle. Of course, with six healthy defencemen, an emergency recall can not be made.
Because of the extra bodies with the team, it is not expected that the game will be affected, however Ducharme says that he knows things can change quickly in a short period of time.