Oilers' Mike Green, Stars' Roman Polak among players opting out of NHL return

Edmonton's Mike Green, Boston's Steven Kampfer, Vancouver's Sven Baertschi, Dallas' Roman Polak and Montreal's Karl Alzner on Saturday joined the list of players who won't be reporting to training camp for the resumption of the NHL season.

In the aftermath of a deal being struck to resume the season on Aug. 1, they joined Calgary defenseman Travis Hamonic among players choosing not to participate in the expanded 24-team playoffs.

"Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and after much consideration, I've decided for deeply personal family health reasons not to participate in the return to play,'' Green said in a statement. After a trade from Detroit, the defenseman played two games for Edmonton before injuring his right knee.

Kampfer, who played 10 games with the Bruins this season, said his wife and son have a congenital heart defect that could cause complications with the virus and called it "one of the hardest decisions'' he has had to make.

Baertschi, who has spent much of this season in the minors and is under contract through 2020-21, told the Canucks he would be opting out.

"Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL return-to-play program," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand.''

Defenseman Alzner, who appeared in four games with the Canadiens this season, informed the organization on Saturday he had decided to opt out of Phases 3 and 4 of the NHL's return-to-play plan.

Polak is a pending free agent who last month agreed to a deal in his native Czech Republic next season and told reporters there he wasn't planning on returning to the NHL if play resumed.

Players have until Monday to inform their teams whether they are opting out. As part of the NHL and NHL Players' Association's agreements, players will not be punished if they choose not to play this summer, and they do not need to cite a specific reason.

Hamonic became the first player to publicly choose not to play amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hamonic's daughter was hospitalized last year with respiratory issues, and he and his wife also have a baby boy.

Their health concerns, not the soon-to-be 30-year-old's impending free agency, led him to opt out.

"I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping my team win, but my family has and always will come first," Hamonic said. "Being my little kids' dad every day is the most important job I have. I love this game and my team. This is a decision that is extremely hard for me to make."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.