Possible quarantine period for trades in the NHL next season will handcuff teams

One of the least talked about issues in discussing Return to Play plans for the 2020-21 NHL season are trades. Of course, when it comes to getting back on the ice, there are much bigger concerns. The whole pesky “we are not trying to renegotiate the CBA” thing being the biggest one.

When it comes to what some teams will look like heading into next season there’s plenty of questions. You have a number of free agents unsigned. And then you have a handful of teams over or at the cap aggressively trying to dump contracts. That’s why I expect the dam to break and see a flurry of activity before the season starts.

RELATED: Top free agents in a hold pattern

Trading in season will be uncertain and very difficult

nhl trades
Jim Rutherford believes trades will be difficult during pandemic (Getty Images)

No one really knows what this pandemic is going to look like months from now. While there’s a promise of a vaccine on the horizon, the logistics and speed to which it can be distributed and administered will vary by state.

That means there still could be plenty of travel restrictions and quarantine protocols to follow. Imagine trying to make a trade to help your scoring woes and still having to wait two weeks to get said player? It is certainly going to make dealing difficult.

And while it would be easier to trade within your potential bubble division, which GM is going to try and help another beat him out of a playoff spot? Zero.

Get your trades in early

One NHL GM is unsure of what the implications will be next season. In his mind he sees very little activity during the season, at least during the early going.

“It may mean as the season goes along these restrictions get eased off a bit, and maybe you can start to do stuff, but these are some of the things I’ve started to think about,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told the Athletic. “Like, you better get as many guys in place as you can because it may not be easy for somebody when the season starts.”

So another unintended consequence of COVID-19 on the NHL is a slow trade market. It certainly poses another challenge for GMs to deal with, but that might mean less little deals and more bigs ones than in years past.

I mean if you are limited, you might as well go for the gusto.