No additional Vancouver Canucks players added to NHL's COVID-19 list
Team also announces contract extensions for Tanner Pearson, Thatcher Demko
No Vancouver Canucks' players were added to the NHL's COVID-19 list Thursday, suggesting an end to the team's outbreak could be in sight.
Nineteen Canucks players remain on the list and the team has said all players and staff are in quarantine.
The Canucks issued a statement Wednesday saying 25 people in the organization have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on March 30.
The statement also said the outbreak — the largest in the NHL this season — involves a variant of the virus and genomic sequencing is being done to determine which specific variant.
Six Canucks' games have been postponed and have yet to be rescheduled by the NHL.
A player on the COVID-19 protocol list has not necessarily tested positive. Players who are in self-isolation after travelling or who've been in close contact with someone who tested positive, for example, are also on the list.
No new Leafs on list after Nylander misses game
Meanwhile, Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander remained on the protocol list, but none of his teammates were added Thursday.
Nylander was placed on the list Wednesday before the Maple Leafs' game against Montreal. The Leafs say he had exposure to a possible positive case with a close contact outside the team.
Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game that the team found out there could be an issue around noon Wednesday, and he credited Nylander with being honest about it.
"Credit to Will for how he handled it in terms of being up front and letting us know [about] a potential situation," Keefe said. "It's important to point out that Will didn't break any protocols."
Canucks re-sign Pearson
Later Thursday, the Canucks locked up Tanner Pearson, signing the left-winger to a three-year extension.
The deal is worth an average of $3.25 million per year.
Pearson, 28, has six goals and five assists in 33 games with Vancouver this season, and was set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement that Pearson is a veteran who leads by example and "provides invaluable leadership experience to our core young players."
Vancouver acquired the native of Kitchener, Ont., in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman Erik Gudbranson in February 2019.
Originally selected 30th by the L.A. Kings at the 2012 NHL Draft, Pearson has a career 226 points (114 goals, 112 assists) in 490 games with the Kings, Penguins and Canucks. He won a Stanley Cup with L.A. in 2014.
The Canucks also confirmed Thursday that goalie Thatcher Demko has signed a five-year extension worth an average of $5 million US per year.
The news had previously been released by Canucks owner Francesco Aquillini on Twitter.
Demko, 25, stunned many with a stellar performance in the Edmonton playoff bubble last year and emerged as Vancouver's starting netminder after the team lost Jacob Markstrom to the Calgary Flames in free agency in October.
Demko has a 12-12-1 record with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average this season.
The Canucks picked the goalie from San Diego, Cal., 36th overall at the 2014 draft.
Benning said in a statement that Demko is an important part of Vancouver's team.
"He's taken a big step in his development this year, displaying a strong work ethic and composure in his game," the GM said. "At every level of play Thatcher has excelled, from college to the (American Hockey League) and now as a starter in the NHL."
Pearson is currently on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, while Demko is one of 19 Canucks players currently on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list.