Keep in mind that these new measures are not concerning what happens with players that test positive. So this doesn't change Barzal's current status. These are new preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus throughout the league.
Just a few days ago, the number of players on the NHL's COVID protocol list was at some 101 players and staff. The league shut down the Panthers and Avalanche through December 26 and the Flames until December 23. So these enhanced protocols aren't some sort of random reaction by the NHL.
New York Islanders and enhanced COVID protocols
So what are these enhanced protocols?:
-Restricted indoor dining on the road
-Masks in team facilities and when traveling
--Travelling means: Busses, planes and at hotels
-Holiday parties aren't allowed
-No engagement with fans
Players are also being asked to wear better quality N95 and KN95 masks over cloth masks.
What does this mean for the Isles? Well, outside of the obvious mild inconvenience from these enhanced measures I'm sure they'll all be glad for these new mandatory measures.
The Isles know what happens when the team is hit with COVID. They've already gone through an outbreak within the team. Through much of the month of November, player-after-player was put on the COVID protocol list and the team kept dropping points as a result of icing a depleted team.
By November 27 the list of Isles players in COVID protocol was as eight. That's nothing compared to the Flames 19 players on the protocol today, but it left their lineup severely depleted of NHL talent. From Nov 16 (when the first player was added to the list) to Dec 2 when the bulk of players exited the list they went 0-5-0 with a -15 GD. A loss of ten points and likely why they are where they are in the standings.
They don't want to go through that again. If these COVID protocols can help them avoid it they'll gladly take these enhanced steps.