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Quarantine requirements make for uneven NHL trade deadline

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point, right, reaches for the puck in front of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno during the first period an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

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.