Last season in Major League Baseball, teams were permitted to carry taxi squads in an effort to reduce the number of times that players had to be shuffled between the big club and their minor league training complex. In the latest 31 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the NHL is considering a similar idea for next season.
The current idea under consideration would see players paid their AHL salaries so there wouldn’t be a substantial cost increase for owners aside from paying out NHL per diems. Presumptively speaking, that should include players on one-way deals who would still receive their full pay if they’re assigned to the taxi squad.
The need for a group of reserve players is further highlighted by the fact that the AHL isn’t targeting a start to their season until February. Even if the NHL doesn’t meet their January 1st target to start the season, players sent to the minors will be inactive for a few weeks before that season gets underway. Having the ability to keep at least some of them up with the big club during that stretch would be a plus.