Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou is placed on NHL’s COVID protocol list
Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou was added Thursday to the NHL’s list of “players unavailable due to COVID protocols,” ruling him out of the team’s game against the Minnesota Wild and leaving his status for the upcoming schedule in doubt.
A 26-year-old winger who signed with the Kings as a free agent this offseason, Athanasiou had five points (three goals, two assists) over the season’s first seven games, ranking third on the team in scoring. He had been playing on the second line with Blake Lizotte and Jeff Carter, as well as on the team’s secondary power-play unit.
It’s unknown why Athanasiou entered the league’s COVID protocols, or how long he will be away from the team. Team members can enter the protocol for any number of reasons, including testing positive for the virus, exhibiting symptoms of the virus or coming into close contact with a person with a confirmed case of the virus, among others. While in the league’s protocol process, team members are required to self-isolate.
A potentially complicating factor in Athanasiou’s case is that the Kings were on the road at the time he was placed on the COVID protocol list, making it seemingly unlikely he will be able to fly back to Los Angeles on the team flight following Thursday’s game.
As the Kings’ new executive producer of live events, Wanton Davis wants to make it an “all-encompassing experience” when fans visit Staples Center.
According to the NHL’s “Club Travel Protocol” rules, members of a team’s traveling party (including players, coaches and other staff) are barred from traveling if they have experienced virus symptoms outlined in the league’s COVID-19 protocols or returned a positive or inconclusive test result immediately prior to travel. Thursday’s game was the last of the Kings’ four-game trip.
In a separate roster move Thursday that could help the Kings compensate for Athanasiou’s absence, rookie forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan was recalled to the active roster. Winger Austin Wagner could also fill Athanasiou’s hole in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in each of the Kings’ first three games of the trip.
After Thursday, the Kings play just once over the next seven days, which could potentially minimize the number of games Athanasiou will have to miss. Other Kings players who previously went through the league’s protocol process were unavailable for lengths of three to seven days.
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