January 23, 2022

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NHL to bring back taxi squads when regular season resumes after COVID-extended holiday break

2 min read

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After COVID outbreaks throughout the league forced an extended holiday break to be taken, the National Hockey League is tentatively set to resume its regular season on Tuesday with some adjustments to minimize schedule disruptions and keep the 2021-22 season going: Specifically, the re-introduction of taxi squads that teams will be able to draw from to keep their numbers up.

According to the Associated Press, the NHL will now permit its teams to use a reserve squad consisting of up to six players when the regular season resumes, re-introducing the taxi squads that were featured during the league’s shortened 2021 season. Taxi squad players will count as being in the minors for NHL salary cap purposes, and they will be able to be on the taxi squad for a maximum of 20 days. The new taxi squads are set to be in effect through at least the NHL All-Star break in early February.

In addition to the taxi squads, the NHL will now also permit teams to make emergency recalls from the minor leagues should COVID-related absences prevent them from fielding a full lineup of players. Any team that is unable to have at least 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies available will be able to bring up a player from the American Hockey League to prevent playing a game with less than 18 skaters.

Teams may now also make emergency recalls of players with a salary cap hit of up to $1 million, an increase from the $850,000 cap hit that had previously been the limit.

The changes were prompted after the NHL was forced to begin its annual Christmas break early due to the spread of COVID throughout the league, which forced a total of 64 games to be postponed. Although other leagues in the United States have adjusted their testing requirements with respect to the spread of COVID variants, the NHL’s ability to do so is constrained due to restrictions in place by the Canadian government.

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