In accordance with the Return to Play agreement signed between the NHL and NHL Players Association, “any player may opt-out of Phase 3 and Phase 4 without penalty of any kind.”
And given the uncertainty looming around COVID-19, a total of 7 NHL players have exercised their right to opt-out of the 2020 playoffs, most often citing family health concerns.
Here is the full list of NHL players that have opted out:
Calgary Flames’ defenseman Travis Hamonic wasted no time, opting out just hours after the Return to Play agreement was signed.
The unrestricted free agent to be cited the health of his young daughter, who was hospitalized in 2019 due to a respiratory illness, as his top priority.
“I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping the team win but my family has and always will come first. Being my little kids’ dad every day is the most important job I have.”– Travis Hamonic, as reported by The New York Times.
This should come as no surprise as Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak recently signed a 3-year contract with HC Vitkovice in the Czech Extraliga and previously expressed his distaste for an NHL return.
The Edmonton Oilers acquired the two-time Norris finalist at the NHL trade deadline in hopes of a deep playoff run. Not only did Green sustain an injury in just his second game in an Oilers uniform, but he’s also opted out of returning to their play-in series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Former first-round draft pick and veteran NHL defenseman, Karl Alzner informed the Montreal Canadiens he’d be opting out of the NHL’s Return to Play. The Burnaby, BC native spent most of the past two seasons with the Canadiens AHL affiliate, Laval Rocket.
Considering his wife and son have a congenital heart defect, it is really no surprise that Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer has opted out of returning to play.
Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi became the second NHL player, behind Travis Hamonic, to announce he was opting out of the NHL’s return to play.
While Baertschi can’t and won’t be formally punished for his decision, it certainly won’t improve his relationship with the Canucks, whom he requested a trade from earlier in the season.
Although Pens GM Jim Rutherford didn’t disclose specifics, it is known that defenseman Zach Trotman suffers from asthma, which can be exacerbated by COVID-19 symptoms.