The New York Islanders will have access to taxi squads for the 2020-21 NHL season. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
On Saturday I tried to predict who could end up on the New York Islanders taxi squad for the 2020-21 NHL season. (Am I the only one having a hard time just calling this the 2021 season?) There’s very little that’s changed on the 2020-21 taxi squad from the one that followed the Islanders around during the 2020 playoffs in Toronto/Edmonton.
Check out my prediction here: Predicting Islanders 20-21 taxi squad.
But that’s just who might be named to those extra spots, what about all the rules around the squad? Here’s everything you need to know about the taxi squad for the upcoming season.
The taxi squad is an extra four (minimum) to six (maximum) players that can follow the team around throughout the season. Of those 4-6 players, one must be a goalie if the team isn’t already carrying three on the regular roster. The Islanders only have Varalmov and Sorokin right now so expect a goalie in the taxi squad.
These squads don’t come into effect until the last day of training camps (January 12).
When it comes to the salary cap, the rule is the same as if the taxi squad was the AHL. Up to $1.075 million can be buried. For example; if Ross Johnston and his $1 million cap hit end up on the taxi squad, the full amount is buried, if Andrew Ladd is placed on the taxi squad his cap hit is lowered to $4.425 million from $5.5 million.
Teams close to the cap ceiling could also use this to manage their cap as CapFriendly pointed out on Sunday:
Players on the taxi squad are still paid and receive compensation based on their contract (as per usual). Anyone on a two-way deal would be paid their AHL salaries. For example; if Sebastian Aho is on the active roster this season he’d be paid his $725,000 NHL salary, but if he’s placed on the taxi squad he’s paid $275,000.
Moving a player to the taxi squad might require them to pass through waivers, just like if they were moving to the AHL. On the regular roster, only Noah Dobson and Ilya Sorokin are waivers exempt. Everyone else on the regular roster would have to pass through waivers before being placed on the taxi squad.
Players who could end up moving on and off the taxi squad that are not waivers exempt: Sebastian Aho, Austin Czarnik, Josh Ho-Sang. You can get the full list of players who are waivers exempt on the Isles CapFriendly page (look for the green-arrow that’s pointing down).
The 4-6 man taxi squad will be an extension of the full NHL team. They can practice and travel with the team but they can’t practice or travel with anyone else (like an AHL team). So the Islanders can’t, for example, have Sebastian Aho in the taxi squad but have him stay with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers until they need him.
Any recall from the taxi squad must happen before 5 PM that day. Missing that deadline means the recall takes place the next day. So no recalls at the last second. Unless the team is only carrying two goalies on the active roster. They could recall the third goalie if both goalies go down at the 11th hour.
Players can also come off the taxi squad if they are injured, ill, or have to quarantine for COVID related reasons.