March 26: Joshua Clipperton of the Canadian Press reports that the 14-day quarantine period has been waived “under national interest grounds” and players coming from U.S. clubs ahead of the deadline will now be required to quarantine for just seven days. The quarantine change also applies to players called up from AHL teams in the U.S.
March 25: One of the biggest hurdles facing the seven Canadian NHL teams in the North Division when it came to the trade deadline next month was the two-week quarantine period any player coming from a U.S.-based team would need to go through. The player would need to complete travel to the new club north of the border, which is a little trickier these days anyway, and then wait 14 days to even join the team in practice. Missing that much time and then jumping back into NHL action could potentially lead to injury, meaning a “ramp-up” phase might also be required after the quarantine but before he actually plays.
With that much waiting around, trading for a player on April 12 didn’t even seem worth it if they were on an expiring contract. Even further, it’s hard to convince a player to waive a no-trade clause just to quarantine in a hotel room for two weeks. It was limiting the rental market teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, or at least pushing them to get deals done earlier. Now, perhaps they can take a little more time.
David Cochrane of CBC is reporting that the Canadian government will soon approve a seven-day quarantine period for NHL players traded from American teams to Canadian teams. The change will come with added testing for those athletes, but according to Cochrane, has been approved by every province with NHL teams.
If approved, this would be a huge development not only for the Canadian teams but also those looking to sell at the trade deadline. Suddenly the Buffalo Sabres, for instance, have a few more teams that could push hard for rentals like Taylor Hall, Eric Staal, or Brandon Montour, knowing they could have them on the ice in just over a week.
Obviously, as with any other governmental decisions these days, until it is officially instituted this news should not be considered a lock. Things can change at any moment and public pushback could divert the plan. But for weeks now, if not months, Canadian teams have been pushing to try and get the quarantine period reduced to seven days. It seems that pressure has paid off.