Who could the Flyers keep on their taxi team?
With training camp now upon us for all 31 NHL teams, and the season just around the corner, here at Broad Street Hockey there is an exciting buzz surrounding the debut of what is sure to be a unique season in the world. the NHL. 56 games? Different divisions? Taxi squad ?!
All of these changes will surely have an impact on clubs in the long run (but not as long) over the course of an NHL season, although perhaps the most interesting detail of this is the notion of the “cab team”.
What exactly is a taxi squad? Well, we’ve seen something similar put in place with Major League Baseball’s shortened season, and a similar concept will be implemented here in the NHL. Essentially, the Taxi Team is a group of 4-6 players who will be allowed to train with the NHL team as “Reservists”, but will not count towards the team’s cap hit. Full details are below:
The squad of taxis makes it easier for players to access for a number of reasons, the first being the slightly uncertain situation regarding the AHL. Their season is scheduled to begin on February 5, which means there will be a gap between that date and the start of the NHL. Additionally, attracting players to and from the AHL could prove complicated given the protocols, and having a pool of talent available who can train with the NHL club means less risk is involved.
We can predict, for the most part, who will be on the opening day’s 23-man roster, as they are all on the current training camp roster.
From the training camp roster, I think this is the 23-man roster most likely to come out (I can see the Flyers don’t want to carry that many defenders, so there is flexibility to another attacker to add, probably Morgan Frost):
Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Connor bunnaman, Sean Couturier, Joel farabee, Claude giroux, Kevin hayes, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick, Michael raffl, James van riemsdyk, Jakub voracek
Justin braun, Mark Friedman, Shayne Gostisbehere, Erik Gustafsson, Robert hagg, Philippe myers, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim,
Brian Elliott, Carter Hart
It is likely that the taxi team will be made up of players who also participate in this training camp. It’s also important to consider that, potentially, the Flyers will want to keep players on this team of taxis who otherwise wouldn’t have a season to come back (i.e. players who are at European clubs), although that this is not really the case with any particular player on the training camp roster.
So who is likely to end up in this team of taxis? Here’s a guess:
The rules state that a goalkeeper must be part of the taxi team if there are less than three goalkeepers on the 23-player roster. I don’t see a situation where the Flyers are carrying all of Carter Hart, Brian Elliott and Lyon on the roster, so I think Lyon ends up on the cab squad, which makes sense. He is the most experienced of the remaining goaltenders from training camp.
As I said before, I can easily see a scenario in which Frost is on the 23-man roster for training camp and not on the taxi team. However, in truth, I believe Mark Friedman will play a bigger role with the Flyers this season, and it would make sense for the Flyers to wear him if that is indeed the case.
I believe that at some point Zamula will get some playing time in the NHL this season, and given the later AHL start date, I think Zamula will definitely be on the taxi team. Whether he will stay there beyond February is another question, but I think he will be there early.
Laczynski makes sense to the taxi team as there is a known quantity at a time of uncertainty. Coaches have seen him in the NHL before and know what to expect when they call on him, and having him nearby in a pinch will be helpful for the organization.
I think Morin will see some time playing LW in the AHL one day, but for now I’m sure the Flyers will want Morin to train with them and get NHL-level training to play on the wing. .
Having lived a few SHL seasons in his belt, Sandin is a good option for the Flyers as they will be able to really see where he sits in their NHL depth chart. I don’t think Sandin would be the first to call from the taxi team, but at this point he certainly belongs there.