Seth Jones was supposed to make his return to Columbus and face his former team on Tuesday night. That occasion will have to wait, as the Blackhawks' top defenseman is now in COVID Protocol.
More significant than a missed reunion, Jones' absence leaves the Blackhawks thin on the back end. He plays the most minutes per game of any Hawks skater. His average ice time of 25:54 is almost four minutes more than Connor Murphy's mark of 22:00.
The Hawks already would have had a tough time covering Jones' minutes on the back end. To make matters even worse, Jones becomes the third Blackhawks' defenseman currently in COVID Protocol.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jake McCabe entered the protocol. Last Thursday, Erik Gustafsson was sidelined due to the same fate.
With Seth Jones out, the Blackhawks activated Nicolas Beaudin from the taxi squad. Thus, Chicago's depleted defensive group include the following names tonight against the Blue Jackets:
- Connor Murphy
- Calvin de Haan
- Caleb Jones
- Ian Mitchell
- Jakub Galvas
- Nicolas Beaudin