Vancouver Canucks left wing Sven Baertschi and Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak will not be rejoining their teams for the NHL's Return to Play initiative.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning announced Saturday that Baertschi informed the club of his decision the previous day.
"Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL Return to Play Program. It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand," Benning said in a statement posted by the club to Twitter.
"We have added Kole Lind to our Return to Play roster and will continue to focus on preparation for camp," the statement continued.
Polak, meanwhile, was not included on the Stars' training camp roster a month after signing a three-year deal with HC Vitkovice Ridera in the Czech Republic that is set to begin next season. At the time he signed the contract, Polak said "I am already determined to stay at home," as opposed to rejoining the Stars for the remainder of this season.
The list of players opting out of the NHL's restart is now at three, after the Calgary Flames announced Friday night that defenseman Travis Hamonic is opting out, primarily out of concern for his daughter who has a respiratory illness.
Baertschi has two assists while appearing in six games with the Canucks in 2019-20. The 27-year-old Switzerland native recorded 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists) in 43 games this season with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.
Baertschi has collected 138 points (66 goals, 72 assists) in 291 career NHL games with the Flames and Canucks. He was the 13th overall pick of the 2011 NHL Draft by Calgary.
Polak, 34, had no goals and four assists with 24 penalty minutes in 41 games with Dallas this season, his second with the Stars. In 14 NHL seasons with St. Louis, Toronto, San Jose and Dallas, Polak has 26 goals, 114 assists and 643 penalty minutes in 806 career games.
After suspending the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic March 12, the NHL will have 24 teams compete in a modified playoff format, with 16 teams competing in a best-of-five play-in round that starts Aug. 1. The other eight teams (the top four in each conference) will play in a three-game round-robin to determine seeding in the following round.
All Eastern Conference games will be played in Toronto; Edmonton will host all Western Conference games.
The Canucks (36-27-6) will face Minnesota Wild (35-27-7) in the play-in round with Game 1 scheduled for Aug. 2. Dallas (39-24-8) will face the Vegas Golden Knights (37-24-8) on Aug. 3 in the first round-robin game for both teams.
--Field Level Media