Report: NHL brings back taxi squads to deal with player shortages

expanding the nhl playoffs
Jun 19, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is pictured on the red carpet during the 2019 NHL Awards at Mandalay Bay. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When the NHL returns from its holiday break, teams once again will be able to utilize taxi squads of reserve players to help replenish rosters upended by COVID-19 outbreaks.

The league is allowing its 32 teams to maintain a taxi squad of up to six players in order to make emergency recalls, multiple outlets reported Sunday. The system is expected to be in place at least until the All-Star break in February.

NHL dealing with another rise in positive cases

The NHL extended its three-day holiday break to six days, through Dec. 27, as several teams were shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. As of Sunday, the pandemic has caused 64 games to be postponed.

The league used taxi squads during the 2020-21 season to navigate COVID-19 issues. Squads will be made up of AHL players and reportedly will count as minor leagues for salary cap purposes.

The NHL plans to resume games Tuesday, though multiple teams added new players to COVID protocols Sunday as they returned to practice.

Taxi Squad rules

Here are the full rules:

  • Optional and max six players
    • No player on an NHL roster as of 12/22 can be on it
    • Waivers exempt
    • Anyone who was on the roster for 75% of the season or 16 of last 20 games
  • No player can be on it for more than 20 days

Emergency call-ups will be cap exempt if the team is in danger of dressing less than your standard 18 skaters and two goalie lineup. However, that player’s salary can’t exceed $1 million.

–Field Level Media