Report: NHL working with NHLPA to bring back taxi squads and more
The NHL has struggled this season with a surge in COVID cases causing postponements, team shutdowns, and an extended holiday pause.
Stresses on teams have been even worse when COVID coupled with injuries caused several to dress less than an optimal lineup. Some have even gone into games shorthanded without the usual 18 skaters needed to play a game
As the league prepares to restart on December 28th, they are likely to do so with some changes. First and foremost, the return of taxi squads.
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NHL bringing back Taxi Squads
Last season, the NHL allowed teams to carry a four to six man taxi squad with a mandatory goalie. Players on the taxi squad have no impact to the team’s salary cap. Last week, the NY Post reported it was under consideration.
The NHL and NHLPA must create guidelines that might feature reintroduction of taxi squads and the adoption of cap exemptions in response to COVID-related roster issues. Sources have told The Post that talks on these issues began on Wednesday following disposition of the Olympics.NY POST
Today, Elliotte Friedman is noting that the NHL and NHLPA are working on COVID roster protections. In particular the use of the following:
- Taxi-squad through All-Star break (Feb 4-5)
- Emergency call-ups (player must make $1M or less)
- Free goalie adds if club has less than 2 healthy goalies due to COVID
In truth, the NHL should have planned ahead and had taxi squads in place for this season as well.
COVID roster relief
Friedman provided additional clarifications on Emergency Call-Ups and cap relief:
“Teams in danger of dressing fewer than two goalies, six defensemen or 12 forwards for a game will be able to make emergency recalls. The cap hit of any such player cannot exceed $1-million,” he reported on Sportsnet.
On Taxi Squad rules:
- Optional and max six players
- No player can be on it for more than 20 days
- No player on an NHL roster as of 12/22 can be on it
- No player who is waiver exempt
- Anyone who was on the roster for 75% of the season or 16 of last 20 games