The NHL taxi squad has been a hot topic of conversation since its implementation at the beginning of the 2020-2021 NHL season. But what exactly is it and how does it work? The taxi squad is essentially a group of four to six players that each NHL team can carry with them throughout the season. These players are not on the active roster, but they are available to be called up at a moment’s notice in case of injury or other unforeseen circumstances.
In other words, the NHL taxi squad provides teams with a safety net in case they need to fill in a gap due to an unexpected situation. It’s similar to having backup players on the bench, but these players are not on the bench and are instead traveling with the team. This means that teams can switch out players on their active roster with a taxi squad member without needing to send someone down to the AHL or bring someone up from the minors.
The NHL taxi squad also serves as a way for teams to give their young prospects and developing players an opportunity to get some experience at the NHL level. Teams can swap players in and out of the taxi squad as needed, which means that players who may not have been ready for a full-time roster spot can still get a taste of what it’s like to play at the highest level of professional hockey.
NHL Taxi Squad Roster
The NHL taxi squad, introduced for the 2021 season, is a group of players who are not on the main roster but are available to be called up in case of emergency or COVID-19 protocols. The taxi squad can consist of up to six skaters and one goaltender, but the team can choose to have less than the maximum number of players. Players on the taxi squad have to be on a two-way contract, meaning they can be moved up and down between the NHL and AHL without having to go through waivers.
- The taxi squad gives teams more flexibility with their roster and helps them deal with the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic. If a player on the main roster has to enter COVID protocols, they can be replaced by a player from the taxi squad without having to make a trade or sign a new player.
- Players on the taxi squad still receive their NHL salary and benefits, but they do not count towards the team’s salary cap unless they are called up to the main roster. When a player is called up, the corresponding player on the main roster has to be placed on waivers and can be claimed by another team.
- The taxi squad can also be used strategically by teams to give younger players a chance to develop without having to be assigned to the AHL, where they may not get as much playing time or quality competition. Players on the taxi squad can participate in team practices and activities and travel with the team to away games.
Here is an example of what an NHL taxi squad roster could look like:
The NHL taxi squad roster is an important addition to the league’s roster rules, allowing teams to adapt quickly to unexpected situations and giving players more opportunities to showcase their skills.
Eligibility requirements for taxi squad players
The NHL taxi squad is made up of a pool of players that can be called up to the active roster of a team during the season. However, not all players are eligible to be on the taxi squad. Below are the eligibility requirements for taxi squad players:
- Players must be on a team’s 23-man active roster or have signed an NHL contract for the 2020-2021 season.
- Players must have cleared waivers.
- Players must be under contract and not currently playing in a European league.
The eligibility requirements are a way to ensure that the taxi squad is made up of players who have a legitimate chance of being called up to the active roster. Waivers are required to be cleared to prevent teams from abusing the taxi squad and to create a level playing field for all teams.
The NHL has also allowed teams to carry up to six players on their taxi squad, which provides teams with extra depth and options during a season that is expected to be unpredictable due to COVID-19.
|Eligibility requirements for taxi squad players|
|Must be on team’s 23-man active roster or signed an NHL contract for the 2020-2021 season.|
|Must have cleared waivers.|
|Must be under contract and not currently playing in European league.|
The NHL taxi squad provides teams with a safety net for unexpected injuries and illnesses during the season. With the eligibility requirements in place, teams can rest assured that they will have quality players available and ready to play when needed.
Salary Cap Implications of Taxi Squad
The NHL taxi squad has created not only a way to help mitigate players’ potential exposure to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 season but has also brought in additional salary cap implications. Listed below are some of the salary cap implications of taxi squad:
- Teams are now required to have at least four to six skaters and one to two goaltenders on their taxi squad, which also comes with a salary cap hit.
- The salary cap hit for players on the taxi squad is different compared to a player on the active roster. For instance, if a player is called up from the taxi squad to the active roster, their salary cap hit will change.
- The general rule of thumb for a player on the taxi squad is that their salary cap hit is calculated based on the highest amount between the minimum salary for the league and their actual salary.
With the taxi squad increasing the number of roster spots, this also impacts the amount of money that is being spent on player salaries. Teams that have a considerable amount of players on their taxi squad may be paying more in salaries than teams with a smaller taxi squad. Additionally, the salary cap implications of the taxi squad may affect how teams go about making trades and signing players. Teams may need to account for all of the players in their organization, including those on the taxi squad when making decisions.
In conclusion, the addition of a taxi squad to the NHL has brought with it both positive and negative implications concerning the salary cap. Teams must factor in the salary cap hit of players on the taxi squad, which may impact the team’s overall spending on player salaries.
|Salary Cap Hit Calculation for Taxi Squad Players||Example|
|The player’s salary plus signing bonus||A player on the taxi squad is making a salary of $1.5 million plus a signing bonus of $100,000. The player’s salary cap hit will be $1.6 million.|
|The league minimum salary plus potential bonus||A player on the taxi squad has a league minimum salary of $750,000 with a potential bonus of $250,000. The player’s salary cap hit will be $750,000.|
The salary cap implications of the taxi squad ultimately depend on each team’s individual situation, including the number of players on their taxi squad, player salaries, and overall team budget. As the NHL continues to adjust to the pandemic, teams will need to make the most of the resources available, including the salary cap implications of the taxi squad.
Role of taxi squad in player development
One of the key benefits of having a taxi squad in the NHL is its role in player development. As the name suggests, the taxi squad is a group of reserve players who can be called up to the main roster at any time. This provides young or inexperienced players with an opportunity to learn from the organization’s top talent and improve their skills.
- Exposure to NHL-level coaching: The taxi squad players are often involved in practices and meetings with the main team, giving them access to top-level coaching and guidance. This helps them to develop their skills and grow as players at an accelerated rate.
- Opportunity for game-time experience: While being a reserve player may not be ideal, being a part of the taxi squad gives players a chance to get some experience on the ice during practice, scrimmages, or even in case of injuries or illnesses among main roster players in the middle of a game.
- Reduced pressure: The taxi squad offers players a less stressful environment to play in and experiment with their skills, without the pressure to perform at an elite level immediately.
Another benefit of the taxi squad is its flexibility, which allows teams to rotate players in and out, perfect for teams’ needs and schedules. This helps to ensure that the reserve players gain playing time and experience, and it creates a healthy balance of development between the main roster players and the younger talents in the organization.
As a result, the taxi squad can be a valuable asset for teams in the NHL as it provides a way to develop young talent without risking their exposure on the main roster too soon.
|Player||Taxi Squad Period||Main Roster Period|
|Player A||2 weeks||4 weeks|
|Player B||1 month||2 months|
|Player C||3 weeks||5 weeks|
The above table demonstrates how a team could use a taxi squad to their advantage, with each player having varying lengths of time in the taxi squad and main roster periods.
Benefits and drawbacks of taxi squad for teams
As the NHL season progresses amidst the global pandemic, the league has adopted new rules and regulations to ensure the safety and health of its players. One of which is the implementation of the taxi squad, a group of players who practice and travel with the team but are not on the official roster. And while the taxi squad has its benefits, it also poses some drawbacks for teams.
- Flexible roster: The taxi squad allows teams to have extra players on hand in case of a COVID-19 outbreak or injuries. This means they can swap players in and out of the active roster without the need for waivers.
- Game readiness: The taxi squad players can practice with the team and stay game-ready. They can step in seamlessly when needed, rather than the team having to call up players from the minors who are not in game shape.
- Economic advantage: With the taxi squad in place, teams do not have to give out major league contracts to minor league players who are brought up to fill in for the injured players. This can save a team a substantial amount of money, especially for the teams with tight budgets.
On the other hand, there are also drawbacks to consider:
- Limited playing time: Taxi squad players are not on the official roster, which means their playing time is limited. This can be frustrating for players who are used to playing regularly, and their development can be hampered if they are not getting enough ice time.
- Salary cap implications: The introduction of the taxi squad this season came with a new rule that counts the salaries of all players on the squad against the team’s salary cap. This can make it challenging for teams to manage their finances and make trades.
Overall, the taxi squad has its benefits and drawbacks for NHL teams. It provides a flexible and practical solution to deal with injuries and COVID-19 outbreaks while also helping the team save money. However, the limited playing time and its salary cap implications can be challenging to navigate. It remains to be seen how teams will continue to utilize the taxi squad in the future, but for now, it is an essential component of the NHL season.
|Flexible roster||Limited playing time|
|Game readiness||Salary cap implications|
With the help of the pros and cons table, teams can weigh the benefits and drawbacks of having a taxi squad and decide what’s best for their team.
Impact of COVID-19 on taxi squad usage in NHL
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the use of taxi squads in the NHL. Here are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected the taxi squad usage:
- Increased need for depth: With players testing positive for COVID-19, teams need to have extra players available to replace them and maintain their competitive edge. This means that taxi squads are often larger than they would be in a typical season.
- Reduced travel: The NHL has implemented a regionalized schedule to reduce travel and therefore the risk of exposure to COVID-19. As a result, taxi squad players are often closer to their NHL teams and can be called upon at shorter notice.
- More flexible roster management: The NHL has made adjustments to its roster management rules due to COVID-19. For example, teams are allowed to carry three goaltenders, and taxi squad players can be moved up and down between the NHL and AHL without the need for waivers.
Overall, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of depth in NHL teams and increased the flexibility of the taxi squad system.
Current taxi squad rules
Here are the current taxi squad rules for the 2020-21 NHL season:
|Taxi Squad Size||Maximum Number of Players on Active Roster|
|4-6 players||23 skaters, 3 goaltenders|
Teams can carry up to six players on their taxi squad, and they can be moved up and down as needed. However, players on the taxi squad must clear waivers if they have played in 10 or more NHL games in the current season or 30 or more NHL games in the previous season.
The future of taxi squads in the NHL
It’s unclear whether taxi squads will continue to be a part of the NHL beyond the 2020-21 season. However, many fans and analysts believe that the flexibility provided by taxi squads has been a positive development and could be useful in future seasons. Only time will tell whether the NHL will stick with the current system or make changes based on what it has learned during the pandemic.
Comparison of NHL Taxi Squad to Other Hockey Leagues’ Roster Rules
Unlike some other hockey leagues, the NHL allows teams to carry a taxi squad consisting of up to six players in addition to their regular roster. This taxi squad is designed to provide teams with greater flexibility in managing personnel and responding to injuries or other disruptions during the season.
- In the American Hockey League (AHL), which is the primary minor league affiliate of the NHL, teams are limited to a 23-player roster, which must include at least two goaltenders and a minimum of 13 forwards and seven defensemen. There is no provision for a taxi squad in the AHL, although teams are permitted to call players up from the ECHL or other lower-level leagues to fill roster vacancies.
- The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia and other European leagues typically allow teams to carry larger rosters of up to 25 or 26 players, but again, there is no taxi squad provision. Instead, teams may assign players to junior or minor league affiliates for additional playing time and development.
- In the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), which oversees three major junior leagues in Canada and the United States, teams are limited to a 25-player roster that typically includes 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders. Like the AHL and other leagues, there is no taxi squad provision in the CHL, and teams may only call up players in emergency situations.
The NHL’s taxi squad provides teams with greater flexibility to manage their rosters while also giving younger players and prospects an opportunity to learn from NHL veterans and practice with the team in a competitive environment. The taxi squad players typically travel with the team and practice alongside the regular roster, but they are not eligible to play in games unless they are formally added to the active roster through one of several mechanisms.
For example, a team may add a player from the taxi squad to the active roster to replace an injured or ill player, or to add depth to the lineup in anticipation of a difficult upcoming stretch of games. The taxi squad players are paid a salary that varies based on their NHL experience and contractual status, and they may be released or reassigned to a minor league affiliate or junior team at any time during the season.
|League||Maximum Roster Size||Taxi Squad Provision|
|NHL||23 players + up to 6 on taxi squad||Yes|
|KHL||Up to 25 or 26 players||No|
In summary, the NHL taxi squad represents a significant departure from the roster rules of most other hockey leagues, providing teams with a unique and valuable tool for managing their personnel throughout the season. While other leagues may allow larger rosters or greater flexibility in player assignments, none offer the same level of roster depth and versatility as the NHL taxi squad.
How Does NHL Taxi Squad Work?
Here are some frequently asked questions about NHL Taxi Squad:
Q1: What is an NHL Taxi Squad?
A: An NHL Taxi Squad is a group of 4-6 players who are not on the roster, but travel and practice with the team. It acts as a reserve pool of players who can be easily called up in case of injuries or illnesses on the active roster.
Q2: Who can be on an NHL Taxi Squad?
A: Players who are waiver exempt and have a salary cap hit of $1.075 million or less can be on an NHL Taxi Squad. Additionally, at least one goaltender must be included in the squad.
Q3: How are players selected for an NHL Taxi Squad?
A: The team’s general manager or head coach can select the players for the NHL Taxi Squad. They must be designated before 5 p.m. ET every day, and at least one goaltender must be included.
Q4: Can players on an NHL Taxi Squad play in NHL games?
A: Yes, players on an NHL Taxi Squad can play in NHL games if called up to the active roster either due to injuries or illnesses. Once they are called up and play in a game, they are considered part of the active roster.
Q5: What is the maximum amount of time players can spend on an NHL Taxi Squad?
A: There is no maximum amount of time a player can spend on an NHL Taxi Squad during a season. However, players can only be on the Taxi Squad or the active roster.
Q6: Do players on an NHL Taxi Squad get paid?
A: Yes, players on an NHL Taxi Squad are paid their respective AHL salaries, regardless of whether they are called up to the active roster or not.
Now that you know about NHL Taxi Squad, you can easily understand how a team can adapt to any unforeseen circumstance. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again soon!