NHL, NHLPA Reportedly Agree to COVID Roster Protections

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NHL, NHLPA Reportedly Agree to COVID Roster Protections

Chicago Blackhawks

As the NHL gets back to “normal” today, with teams getting back to practice after the Christmas Holiday break, there is word that the league will be implanting new roster options for teams dealing with COVID cases. At least through the All-Star Break at the beginning of February.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to “new” measures to help teams avoid playing with shorthanded rosters and lineups once the league begins playing games again on the 28th. “New” as in the return of the Taxi Squads and re-adjusted salary restrictions for emergency call-ups.

Here are the highlights:

•   Taxi Squads are in place until the All-Star break, but are optional to use for teams. Maximum of six players and no one can be on it more than 20 days.
•   Ineligible players for the Taxi Squads include: 1) if they’re on an NHL roster as of December 22, 2) are waiver-exempt, 3) were on the NHL roster for at least 75% of the regular season days 0r, 4) played in 16 of a team’s last 20 games through December 22.
•   Teams will be allowed to add an additional goalie when two regular goaltenders are not available. This measure is in place for the rest of the season.
•   Teams in danger of not dressing a full gameday lineup (two goalies, 18 skaters) for a game will be able to make emergency recalls. The cap hit of any emergency player recalled cannot exceed $1M.

Originally, the NHL expected to get back to playing games following the Christmas Holiday break tomorrow, but on Christmas Eve, the league announced that all December 27th games would be postponed to allow for teams to have adequate time for testing on the 26th, when most teams returned to practice.

There are four games on the schedule for the NHL tomorrow, including the Montreal Canadiens taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.