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NHL brings back taxi squads to deal with player shortages

Sportsnaut
Oct 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A detailed view of a NHL puck with the LA Kings logo in the first period of the game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A detailed view of a NHL puck with the LA Kings logo in the first period of the game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the NHL returns from its holiday break, teams once again will be able to utilize taxi squads of reserve players to help replenish rosters upended by COVID-19 outbreaks.

The league is allowing its 32 teams to maintain a taxi squad of up to six players in order to make emergency recalls, multiple outlets reported Sunday. The system is expected to be in place at least until the All-Star break in February.

The NHL extended its three-day holiday break to six days, through Dec. 27, as several teams were shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. As of Sunday, the pandemic has caused 64 games to be postponed.

The league used taxi squads during the 2020-21 season to navigate COVID-19 issues. Squads will be made up of AHL players and reportedly will count as minor leagues for salary cap purposes.

The NHL plans to resume games Tuesday, though multiple teams added new players to COVID protocols Sunday as they returned to practice.

–Field Level Media