Quarantine requirements make for uneven NHL trade deadline
Nick Foligno is leaving his family back in Columbus to join Toronto and will have to isolate for seven days before getting on the ice for the Maple Leafs. He will miss at least five games.
Taylor Hall hopped in his car to drive from Buffalo to Boston and expected to be in the Bruins lineup less than 48 hours after they acquired him.
Quarantine requirements are making the trade deadline drastically different for teams around the NHL this year. Within the league’s own protocols, U.S. teams — especially those getting players from nearby rivals — have a sizable advantage over their Canadian counterparts, and it could make a difference down the road in trying to develop chemistry for the playoffs.
Even for defenseman Mike Reilly, who was traded from Ottawa to Boston late Sunday, it’s like any other trade deadline where he can play immediately. “Just pack everything up here, and I believe I get to avoid the quarantine, which is nice,” he said.
Getting Hall and Reilly now and Lazar as soon as he’s healthy wasn’t the Bruins’ only thought process on deadline day. But they’ll gladly accept those guys not needing to sit out a week like Foligno, Edmonton addition Dmitry Kulikov or Montreal acquisition Erik Gustafsson.
“It’s a nice added benefit associated with what the challenging environment we’re all dealing with,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “Those guys were all motivated to do it, which speaks to the fact that they want to get here and get acclimated and play and play meaningful games.”
Foligno — and Eric Staal when he went from the Sabres to the Montreal Canadiens — weren’t so fortunate. Staal was the first player to benefit from Canada reducing its quarantine time from two weeks to one, though he still missed three games.
Toronto traded a first and two fourth-round picks to land Foligno but won’t be able to insert him into the lineup until April 21 at Winnipeg, at the earliest.
“There’s a little bit of a lull here with the seven days that’s coming,” Foligno said. “But I’m really looking forward to just getting there and getting acquainted with everything and then hitting the ground running and helping any way I can.”
Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said if the quarantine were still 14 days “that really would have put us, all the Canadian teams, all seven teams in a more difficult spot.” Seven days made it doable.
Don’t feel too bad for the North Division-leading Maple Leafs, though: They’ll gave goaltender David Rittich available Tuesday night after acquiring him from Calgary. The opponent? The Flames, and Rittich could be in net against his old team.
Edmonton will likely not have Kulikov in the lineup for the next two weeks because of rescheduling quirks that have the Oilers playing four games in six days before some time off. Contrast that with Pittsburgh being able to fly Jeff Carter in privately to get him on the ice now and Washington plugging Anthony Mantha in Tuesday.
Not everyone on the trade block got traded. Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton and Los Angeles’ Alex Iafallo signed the kind of contract extensions Buffalo is hoping to finalize with goaltender Linus Ullmark.
Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher woke up Monday morning unsure if he’d be signing Laughton long term or trading the forward having a career year to any one of a number of teams interest in renting him for a playoff push. Fletcher ultimately re-signed Laughton to a $15 million, five-year contract and hope he
“Certainly there was a lot of interest in Scott Laughton, but we value him highly and we’re happy with the deal and very happy with Scott,” Fletcher said. “The versatility he brings, the energy, he moves around your lineup, he contributes offense, he can kill penalties.”
Iafallo’s camp and the Kings went down to the wire before he signed a $16 million, four-year extension that kept him in L.A. GM Rob Blake said the team was “100% committed” to getting the deal done and not trading him.
Detroit and San Jose didn’t just sell off their own players at the deadline — they picked up draft picks by using salary-cap space to facilitate trades between other teams.
The Red Wings got a fourth-round pick from Tampa Bay — GM Steve Yzerman’s old team — for taking 25% of former Columbus defenseman David Savard’s salary, while the Sharks added a fourth-rounder from Toronto to make the the Foligno deal happen and a fifth-rounder from Vegas to get Mattias Janmark to the Golden Knights.
Yzerman said colleagues asked about Detroit’s willingness to take on salary in exchange for a pick. He said, “We have a lot of cap space so it wasn’t that big of a deal for us to do it.”
“It’s part of what you do in this position,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. “When you’re in this phase where you’re trying to replenish and reset your team, (cap space is) something that you have and you should use. We tried to share that with a bunch of teams out there, and I know there was a group of teams that were trying to do the same thing.”
Wilson didn’t have any problem giving archrival Vegas a boost this year.
“If we didn’t do it, five other teams would’ve done it and it’s what’s best for us: acquiring a draft pick for doing that,” Wilson said. “I would rather we get that pick than some of our fellow rivals.”
It cost the defending Western Conference-champion Dallas Stars nothing to add a veteran defenseman on trade deadline day. They claimed pending free agent Sami Vatanen off waivers from New Jersey, and Ottawa plucked defenseman Victor Mete off waivers from nearby Montreal.
The Stars are a handful of points back of the final playoff spot in the Central and hope to get goalie Ben Bishop back soon. Getting Vatanen for nothing was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
“We’re a pretty banged up group right now and not sure of our injury situation, and to be able to pick up a player of Sami’s attributes and not cost you a draft pick was important,” GM Jim Nill said. “It’s something that worked out well for us.”
Chicago was one of the busiest teams on deadline day, making four trades. Beyond sending Janmark to Vegas, the Blackhawks traded Carl Soderberg to NHL-leading Colorado and got Adam Gaudette from Vancouver for Matthew Highmore.
They also got intriguing young forward Henrik Borgstrom in a trade last week with Florida.