Over the past week and a half, the NHL has dealt with a rapid increase in COVID cases. Already, this has led to a league-wide pause during the Christmas Holiday break, as well as pulling players from the Winter Olympics. And now, there could be new measures implemented following the break to help facilitate the rest of the regular season schedule.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the NHL and NHLPA are considering bringing back the Taxi Squads, along with salary cap exemptions and other measures to help teams with roster restrictions due to COVID complications.
2/Also told that plan is for each team to have a "bye period" for an undetermined number of days during the original Olympic break as part of the revised schedule.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) December 22, 2021
Along with the potential roster changes, the league is also reportedly going to give each team a “bye period” within the rescheduling of the postponed games the league experienced in the lead-up to pausing the season. The three-week break in February that was originally supposed to accommodate the Olympics will now be used to get teams back on schedule after more than 50 games had to be postponed.
Taxi Squads were used last season in the NHL, allowing for teams to have extra players available to their NHL rosters without carrying their cap hits and without requiring waiver restrictions when needing to fill lineups spots due to COVID or other absences during the season.
We have seen a number of clubs over the past week and half be forced to play games with incomplete lineups due to COVID cases and salary cap restrictions. The addition of the Taxi Squads out of the Christmas Holiday break would allow for teams to theoretically house healthy players if/when the current COVID outbreak in the league continues to hamper rosters around the league. We will see what happens over the next few days as the league pauses to regroup after the holidays and hopes to resume the schedule as “normal” on December 27.