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Islanders: How would taxi squads affect 20-21 salary cap

Apr 19, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; A view of an official game puck with the Stanley Cup logo prior to the Washington Capitals against the Columbus Blue Jackets in game four of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; A view of an official game puck with the Stanley Cup logo prior to the Washington Capitals against the Columbus Blue Jackets in game four of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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What are teams close to the salary cap like the New York Islanders going to do if rosters are expanded to 25 players from the current limit of 23?

The NHL is set to potentially resume on January 13. But with that comes a number of questions. Questions like; we know it’s staying flat at $81.5 million but what’s going to happen if active rosters expand to 25 players from the current 23? For teams like the New York Islanders, there’s no cap space to add two more contracts to the books.

So how will the NHL help teams navigate larger squad sizes and the firm salary cap? According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, AHL rules will hold.

Buried

Even though the 20-21 season will be short the possibility for injury is as high as ever. The offseason might have been long, but players didn’t necessarily get the chance to train like they would have liked to with gyms and arenas closed due to the ongoing pandemic.

With that in mind, the NHL is said to be looking at increasing the active roster from 23 to 25 players. The Islanders don’t have enough cap space to accommodate an extension for Mathew Barzal, signing depth players like Matt Martin and Andy Greene and adding another two players to the roster.

To make it work, it seems like the NHL will allow teams to essentially bury those deals in the AHL according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

NHL teams can bury up to $1.075 million of a player’s cap hit in the AHL. So, for example, if Andrew Ladd was to be placed in the AHL, his cap hit would drop from $5.5 million to $4.425 million.

For anyone making less than $1.075 (like Sebastian Aho for example), the entire cap hit would come off the books.

It still remains to be seen if the NHL actually confirms this will be the rule, but if it is, it should give teams, like the Islanders, the flexibility they need to keep a full roster and not exceed the NHL’s firm salary cap.

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