What the NHL’s 56-game agreement means for the Canucks

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 21: Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (2nd from left) celebrates his goal at 13:19 of the third period against the St. Louis Blues in Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 21, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 21: Tyler Motte #64 of the Vancouver Canucks (2nd from left) celebrates his goal at 13:19 of the third period against the St. Louis Blues in Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 21, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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The NHL has finally decided on a 56-game season for the 2020-21 campaign, which will impact roster decisions for the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks fans can rejoice, as the NHL and NHLPA seem to have finally decided that the 2020-21 season will have teams play 56 games each:

This news should come as no surprise to anyone since the league implemented a 48 game season in 2012-13 following the conclusion of a lockout.

However, this decision will have major ramifications for the Canucks and every team in the league, especially when it comes to their roster construction.

First of all, teams will have “taxi squads,” which means that they’ll be allowed to carry more than 23 players on their roster. Those players won’t be a part of the official team and will act as emergency callups instead.

This will help organizations move players in and out of their lineup without forcing them to travel to their AHL affiliates, thus limiting the dangers posed by the current pandemic.

More importantly, carrying extra players will provide clubs with an assurance due to injuries, as it seems likely that there will be more players who will get hurt this season because of the truncated schedule. For comparison, the 2012-13 season began on January 19th and teams played 48 games, while the league still wants to begin the 2020-21 campaign on January 13th even with eight more games to play.

The implementation of “taxi squads” will also heavily impact Vancouver’s decisions when it comes to signings. For example, would the team consider bringing in some more proven depth players to put on their expanded roster instead of relying on rookies? If so, then cap space will need to be created since they’re currently over the limit.

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No matter what happens, it seems inevitable that the Canucks opening night lineup will look vastly different than the one it iced last season. With more roster spots to fill, it’s time to see whether or not more rookies are able to make the jump to the NHL.