While Santa was delivering goodies across the globe, the NHL and NHLPA formalized some CBA exemptions designed to give teams COVID roster relief. Here are the highlights…
GOALTENDERS: Teams will be allowed to add an additional goalie when two regulars are not available. This is in place for the rest of the season
EMERGENCY CAP EXEMPTION: From here on in, teams in danger of dressing fewer than two goalies, six defencemen or 12 forwards for a game will be able to make emergency recalls. The cap hit of any such player cannot exceed $1-million.
TAXI SQUADS: These are in-place until the All-Star Break, for now. Teams don’t have to use them; maximum of six players; no one can be on it more than 20 days. There are some eligibility requirements. You can’t be on it if you're on an NHL roster as of Dec. 22 (with the exception of emergency recall); are waiver-exempt; were on the NHL roster for at least 75 per cent of the regular-season days or played in 16 of a team’s last 20 games through Dec. 22 (goalies who dressed but did not play is counted as having “played”).
Taxi squad players can practice and travel with the NHL team. Compensation is AHL-level pay with a stipend of $500 (US) each day they are on it.
The schedule is on pause until at least Tuesday. Players returned to their NHL home bases on Sunday for testing and the option of their first post-Christmas practice. Keep an eye on the Sportsnet Twitter feed as teams announce COVID protocol updates. Buffalo, for example, cancelled practice and its media availabilities.
Other items to keep an eye on: What happens to the schedule? What changes will there be, and could Canadian teams have some home games moved later in the season to protect revenue? Lots to be determined.