Updated February 8, 2021 - 2:41 pm
The Golden Knights are getting closer to having Alex Pietrangelo back.
The defenseman and alternate captain has started skating on his own while waiting to clear the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, coach Pete DeBoer said Monday. DeBoer said Pietrangelo will likely miss at least one more game before returning.
“I would say he’s asymptomatic from what I understand and has been the entire time,” DeBoer said. “He obviously has a wife and kids. That’s always your main concern when you get a positive result is the people around you and your family. He’s had to deal with that, but I think he’s ready to get back.”
Pietrangelo, 31, was the Knights’ marquee signing this offseason. The former St. Louis Blues captain and Stanley Cup champion signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract in October.
The team’s defensemen have had their roles elevated across the board in his absence. Pietrangelo’s partner on the first pair, Brayden McNabb, has also missed the past two games while on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
As a result, defenseman Nick Holden played for the first time this season Friday, while rookie Dylan Coghlan made his NHL debut the same game. Second-year defensemen Nic Hague and Zach Whitecloud have also seen their ice time increase the past two games.
“From a D standpoint, I thought we did a good job of banding together,” defenseman Alec Martinez said. “You’re not going to just easily replace any of those guys that are out. It’s going to have to be by committee.”
Goaltender Robin Lehner practiced Monday after taking a puck up high in Sunday’s 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings. Lehner, who had offseason shoulder surgery, didn’t receive treatment on the ice and stayed in the game.
The 29-year-old is 3-1-1 with an .890 save percentage and a 2.96 goals-against average this season.
“He’s played very well late in games in order to find ways to win,” DeBoer said. “I think the one area that I’m sure he would want to get better at is his starts.”
Practice-squad forward Tomas Jurco practiced Monday for the first time since the team’s COVID-19 pause. DeBoer said Jurco had some back issues flare up.