Russell, one of the few Oilers players to escape a positive test during the season, had sat out the previous two games against San Jose and Calgary because the Oilers wanted to play newcomer Brett Kulak on the third pair with Tyson Barrie.
“Kris was away from the rink for precautionary reasons,” said coach Jay Woodcroft, about half an hour before they announced Russell’s diagnosis. Leon Draisaitl is the only Oilers skater who hasn’t been hit with COVID during the season.
There’s a good chance Russell would have played against the Coyotes, maybe in place of Evan Bouchard, who had a very rough defensive night against the Flames.
With William Lagesson traded to Montreal as part of the Kulak deal a week ago, and Russell, who has played only 24 games because his body has been battered, on the sidelines, the Oilers only have six healthy defenceman. They will recall somebody Tuesday, prior to Wednesday’s game against Los Angeles. It won’t be Philip Broberg.