One of the Colorado Avalanche’s top defensemen, Devon Toews, has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

Coach Jared Bednar said Toews tested positive and was symptomatic, “so he’ll be out until after Christmas.”

The NHL’s third star of the week had seven assists last week. The Avalanche haven’t gone without players due to COVID protocol since the first weeks of the season, when forward Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Jack Johnson were unavailable.

Colorado isn’t the only team currently affected. On Monday the Calgary Flames shut down until at least Thursday and Carolina Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho entered COVID protocol.

“I know there’s teams that are getting shut down and whatnot, but we’re fighting through it just like everybody else,” Bednar said. “It’s a little bit of adversity but it comes with the territory nowadays.”

Defenseman Justin Barron, 20, was recalled from the Colorado Eagles (AHL) to make his first NHL start against the New York Rangers. Barron has 3 goals and 6 assists through 14 games with the Eagles in spite of missing time with an injury.

“It’s definitely a special day and I’m really looking forward to tonight,” Barron said.

Barron was one of the last cuts in Avalanche training camp.

“Really impressive in camp, actually,” Bednar said. “Sturdy, solid, good with the puck. From Day 1 of rookie camp all the way through his time with us, we were impressed.”

Forward Nazem Kadri, who is fourth in the NHL in points (11 goals, 23 assists), is set to return to the lineup Tuesday after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Kadri described the second game absence as precautionary.

Bednar said defenseman Jacob MacDonald, who was stretchered off the ice following a hit from the Florida Panthers’ Ryan Lomberg during the second period Sunday, was “around the rink this morning” and “doing good, so hopefully on the way to recovery.”

Lomberg, too, is in COVID-19 protocol.

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