How will the taxi squad affect the Carolina Hurricanes?
The NHL is implementing “taxi squads” for each team this season, and the Carolina Hurricanes will lean on theirs with so much uncertainty.
Due to the pandemic, we are living in, the NHL has created a taxi squad system for each team to avoid necessary quarantine traveling from the AHL team up to the NHL squad. The taxi squads will be made up of four to six players who will practice with the big club throughout the season. Unfortunately for these players, they cannot participate with the AHL team and won’t get a full season of games under their belt.
With there being so much unknown still going into the season, there is a strong likelihood of taxi squad players getting decent playing time. The short offseason and the spreading virus will cause players to miss games, and these awaiting guys will get their chance to impress Rod Brind’Amour and the front office.
The taxi squad players will still be paid their AHL salaries in full as will the players who are on a two-way contract.
The site CapFriendly did a great job laying out all of the rules of the taxi squad:
As stated, there will be one goalie required on the squad. With Carolina putting Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers, that seems to be their plan. They also claimed former Cane Anton Forsberg off waivers as a back-up plan in case Nedeljkovic gets claimed.
When looking at other possibilities to be in the mix, youngster Jake Bean is a lock in my mind. The talented 22-year old defenseman has been looking to break into the roster for the last couple of seasons, and any injury to the defensive unit will set up a call-up for Bean.
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Coming off a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, it would not be surprising to see Ryan Suzuki as part of the group as well. I do feel games in the AHL would help him develop, but the chance to practice with the full squad is hard to look over. With the departure of Clark Bishop, a center like Suzuki might be needed as a security blanket.
Other candidates who could feature to be on the taxi squad include veteran defenseman Joakim Ryan, center Drew Shore (if put on waivers), young defenseman Joey Keane, and newly acquired d-man Maxime Lajoie from the Ottawa Senators.
All of these guys could make an impact on this upcoming season of uncertainty. With the new rivalries in the Central division, there are going to be difficult games and knocks along the way.
Whoever is placed on the taxi squad will be expected if called upon to step in and play important minutes for Rod Brind’Amour.