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Adding A Golden Knights Taxi Squad For Breakout Insurance

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Everything is on the table for the NHL in their attempt to save the 2020-21 season. One idea that’s been floating would allow Vegas prospects to get some real hands-on the job type experience. When the league starts up the season, pipeline players like Jimmy Schuldt, Lucas Elvenes, and Dylan Coghlan will be around the Golden Knights roster much more than usual.

I hear [the NHL] are talking about a taxi squad. Players will get paid their AHL salary but get NHL per diem. –Elliotte Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

A taxi squad is a group of players that practice with the team and could be called upon to play in reserve. There’s actually an amusing story behind the origin of taxi squads.

The NHL’s idea would make it financially viable for team owners and add extra insurance if roster players contract coronavirus and are unable to compete. Major League Baseball adopted the taxi squad system this summer and it worked successfully for the league. Realistically, the extra players would be used for the worst-case scenario, a team-wide breakout. Nevertheless, the next generation of Golden Knights would be given an invaluable experience.

On 31 Thoughts podcast Friedman also touched on how taxi squads would affect the salary cap. The Golden Knights are up to their neck with limited cap space, for it to work for them and other clubs, practice players would have to be exempt from the cap. Friedman tends to believe taxi squads wouldn’t impact a team’s salary cap, which could benefit the Golden Knights.

Yes I think so. That’s why they’re talking about AHL salaries. I don’t know if that’ll be what happens but I’ve had a couple of different people tell me they’re talking about taxi squads. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

The reason this benefits Vegas is that they’d be able to have just 19 players on the acrive roster counting against the cap but still run a full practice. Normally, if a player isn’t on the active NHL roster (unless coming off IR), he can’t practice with the team. So, if VGK wanted to drop a player to the AHL to save cap space, he’d have to go practice in Henderson. This year, they might be able to get away with paying just 19 players against the cap all season.

There have been calls to shorten NHL training camps in years past but it sounds like it’s a given for 2020-21. It would speed up the process and help get the shortened season off the ground and on the ice by early January.

Secondly, you are not inviting 60 players to camp this year… I’ve heard talk they are going to cap it at 35. You have the players show up for camp right after Christmas and you play for January 6th. –Friedman on 31 Thoughts Podcast

Adding reserve players is one of the easiest decisions the league needs to make. The only dilemma is if owners complain about the added payroll, albeit AHL salaries. However, in all likelihood, the taxi squad proposal will be approved and all 31 franchises will carry a substitute lineup.

Is it possible we see Peyton Krebs earlier than expected?

Previous Podcast #213: Here For The Ratio


Sending Star Prospects To World Juniors; Teams Aren’t, But They Should


  1. Daryl

    So, players get to practice with the team but get no actual experience? I don’t really see the benefit. I’d rather have a player playing at a lowerevel than only get practice experience.

  2. Gary Thompson

    Depends if there is an AHL.

    • Actually depends if there is even an NHL season which is looking more and more doubtful despite what the media ( fake news ) would have you believe. No fans, no revenue, jersey sales a joke, smart business no season.

      • NHLPA

        don’t be ridiculous. if they don’t play, while all the other sports do, then hockey would be damaged beyond repair.

        they have a new TV contract to negotiate after this season, and to not play now would cost the NHL hundreds of millions in that new contract.

        even Bettman admits this, and has said that there WILL be NHL hockey this season.

        they will begin training camp about Jan 2, and they will begin the season about Jan 15.

        it will be 56 games, it will end around early May, and the playoffs will end around early July.

        there will be a Canadian division. there will be some outdoor games in several markets. travel will be minimal with intra division games played.

        the league and the players have already agreed to most of this on Friday. the $$ issues will be resolved next.

      • Daryl

        I hate to agree with you on this, but I don’t see the season happening. There is already one football team who doesn’t have a place to play or practice. That is just the start. Come Jan 24, sooner, you will see more and more of these situations occur. Bars and restaurants will be shut down again and very few games are on TV so you can’t sell TV ads to viewers who aren’t watching. At least with bars being open you could go there to watch a game but that will soon end. It doesn’t make sense financially to have an NHL season

      • Daryl

        I hate being right about everything so I’m throwing this out there…. Can we bring Engelland back for one more season???

  3. Tim

    How anyone thinks not playing up doesn’t make you better is beyond me. Practicing with the Knights, scrimmaging against some of the best players in the world, plus the locker room experience goes a long way in there maturity. I’ll bet the kids on the alternate team in the bubble had a great experience plus it gives the coached a long look at how they have progressed.

    • Daryl

      What scrimmages? Once the season starts you don’t scrimmage… you run drills. Yes I agree the experience is great but there is no advantage to it. Players aren’t going to get better by just running drills and being around NHL players. It’s like Martial Arts, if I just do drills for every class it didn’t do then any good unless I let them spar and put those skills in a real life like scenario.

      As for my comment on Engelland, surely you could see the joke behind it

      • Tim

        Daryl so your saying while there going through there training camp for a month these kids won’t be involved with scrimmages I don’t believe that. I played and coached sports all my life and I’ve never heard of a player playing down getting better versus playing up. No I don’t see the joke behind Engelland because you’ve mentioned it numerous times through the months.

        • Daryl

          If you don’t get the joke I don’t know what to tell you. Yes I still think he is as good as Holden and better than Merrill and for the price I would take him over the other two. But that is neither here nor there. He isn’t playing anymore and if you actually ready my comment it’s obviously a joke

          As for the other, yes bringing those guys up for training camp is great and will do wonders for them. I’m not talking about training camp, I’m talking about the regular season. Unless I read it wrong the plan is for these guys to be on the NHL roster once the season starts and not count money wise. They are emergency replacements. This is where their time will be wasted. The NHL does not scrimmage during the season which means they will practice and run drills but will jot get any game action which is a total waste. As I stated here, or in another thread, I played hockey into college and played football ip to the semi pro level. We never had scrimmages once the season started. This will jot help those players develop at all

          • Tim

            Daryl playing up is never wasted. You have to think out of the box just like our goalie situation it’s the MOST important position on the team and having both Fleury and Lehner is the right move contrary to Ken’s belief again think outside the box.

        • Daryl

          That is your opinion on the goalie situation… I’m not so sure VGK Front Office agree otherwise they never would have been trying to shop MAF. I’d rather get rid of one of the goalies in lieu of a top tier Center. As for thinking outside the box and the use of the other players, again, once the season starts there will be no more scrimmages so these guys aren’t doing anything but drills.

          You can disagree me all you want… that’s cool. I just see it differently.

  4. B-Rad

    As an HSK season ticket holder, this is what recently was sent to us.

    Thank you once again for joining the HSK Family as an Inaugural Season Ticket Member! The AHL recently announced that the league is targeting a start date of February 5, 2021 for next season, one year after the Golden Knights shared that the team was purchasing an AHL franchise. We wanted to take a moment to update you on how we’ve been preparing for the Opening Knight we’ve all been waiting for.

    So, if the AHL is not starting until Feb. 5, then what is the effect on the taxi squad strategy?

  5. Whatever – your last statement concerning the $$$$ situations says it all. Those things agreed to thus far (assuming you know what your talking about )don’t cost money short term the immediate $$$$ issue says it all and will dictate the final outcome. I hope you all can figure it out where it makes good business sense otherwise it’s not going to happen. Bettman can admit whatever it’s easy to spend someone else’s money.

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