The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Wednesday afternoon that forward William Nylander has been pulled from the team's game later that evening against the Montreal Canadiens after coming into contact with a potential positive COVID-19 case from outside the team.
The game was held as scheduled.
For precautionary reasons, William Nylander will not play tonight vs Montreal as he has had exposure to a possible positive case with a close contact outside the team.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) April 7, 2021
Nylander is isolating and the situation will be re-evaluated tomorrow pending the results of further testing.
The team says that the 24-year-old Nylander is now in isolation and will be re-evaluated on Thursday, pending the results of further testing.
In his sixth season, Nylander has 17 goals and 13 assists in 38 games this season.
The Leafs also announced that Alexander Barabanov will take Nylander's place in the lineup.
In consultation with the NHL, tonight’s game will proceed as scheduled. Forward Alexander Barabanov will be inserted into the lineup.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) April 7, 2021
Barabanov, 26, signed as a free agent with the Leafs in the offseason after seven seasons with the Kontinental Hockey League's SKA St. Petersburg.
He has appeared in 11 games this season.
Following the game, head coach Sheldon Keefe updated the timeline of when the team found out about Nylander's possible exposure.
"We had a pretty good sense around lunchtime that there was a situation and credit to Will for how he handled it in terms of being up front and letting us know a potential situation," Keefe told the media. "And the medical people take over from there and kind of let us know how to proceed. But, again, I think Will handled it, himself, very well. I think it's important to point out that Will didn't break any protocols here or do anything outside of the rules or the protocols or things like that. It's a very unfortunate situation. We're going to, of course, support Will through this and we'll just have to wait for more information."
After Wednesday night's game, the Leafs are set to host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.