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How the Maple Leafs Will Use Taxi Squad to Solve Cap Crunch and Who Is On It

The Toronto Maple Leafs will use the new taxi squad rules to solve some major salary cap crunch issues. But who makes the squad?

The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly won’t be the only team getting creative this season but they may be one of the busier clubs using the taxi squad guidelines to their full affect in 2021. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the taxi squad will help the Leafs manage salary cap crunch and it unlocks new management possibilities for the organization.

Related: Crazy 2020-21 NHL Schedule Means One Maple Leaf Must Play Key Role

Johnston starts out saying, “It should come as no surprise to learn that the Toronto Maple Leafs are poised to spend the next few months playing tango with the NHL’s $81.5-million salary cap ceiling.” He goes on to add that teams like the Maple Leafs — who will be dancing close to the salary ceiling all season — just got some significant relief based on the new rules that allow NHL hockey clubs to move players on and off the 4-6 player taxi squad.

Johnston points out that since new NHL rules permit players to be brought up from the taxi squad up until 5 p.m. ET each day, the Leafs will make be making moves all season, especially on off days. He explains:

Leafs are in position to accrue additional cap space by making paper transactions on days they don’t play. If they choose to carry five players on the taxi squad, for example, they could loan someone from the active roster every practice day or off day without actually having to send the players anywhere.

Kyle Dubas Maple Leafs 2
Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs GM

He cites examples like Nick Robertson, Alexander Barabanov, Rasmus Sandin and Mikko Lehtonen who will all likely be moved on and off the roster since each are playing on entry-level contracts. Others, such as Travis Boyd, Pierre Engvall or Martin Marincin could be included if they reach the NHL roster after clearing waivers.

Who Is On the Leafs Taxi Squad to Open the Season?

There will be a ton of player movement on paper, but not a lot of actual players going anywhere throughout the season. Still, the Leafs have to pick players to start on the taxi squad versus players who will start the season on the roster.

Toronto will only have room for 21 players to start, staying around $540,000 below the upper limit. Their intention is to take advantage of every penny they can squeeze out of the new rules, as they should.

The most likely names on the taxi squad include: Alexander Barabanov, Travis Boyd, Aaron Dell, Pierre Engvall, Mikko Lehtonen, Martin Marincin, Nic Petan, Nick Robertson, Calle Rosen, Rasmus Sandin.

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