Montreal Canadiens: What Do Habs Gain From All This Taxi Squad Shuffling?

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 13: Alexander Romanov Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 13: Alexander Romanov Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens forwards continue to be placed on the team’s taxi squad on days off, only to be placed back on the team’s main roster for the next game day.

We saw Jake Evans shuffled off to the taxi squad on Thursday, only to be activated in time to score a nice shorthanded goal against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Then, it was Alexander Romanov’s turn to be placed on the taxi squad for a day on Sunday, and then put back on the team’s active roster on Monday.

What exactly is the point of this? Well, the easy answer is to save cap space. But how much? When a player is placed on the six-man taxi squad, he doesn’t count against the team’s salary cap, but he is eligible to travel with the team and practice with them. This allows teams the flexibility to carry a half dozen extra players with them in case a handful of players quickly get removed from active duty due to Covid-19.

The Canadiens started the year with $722,865 in cap space, according to capfriendly. They are also carrying a 21 player roster, with Victor Mete serving as the only healthy scratch in the team’s opening two games. They almost had enough space to keep a 22nd player like Corey Perry on the active roster, but his $750,000 cap hit was just a bit too much to fit.

So, the Habs are left pinching their cap pennies by placing young players like Evans, Romanov and probably Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki in the future, on the taxi squad for off days. Because of their roster size, they can only do this to one player at a time because they need to carry at least 20 players at a time.

But how much exactly do they save by doing this? Well, assuming they continue to rotate one of Romanov, Evans, Kotkaniemi or Suzuki at a time, it will change a little bit every day because of their cap hits. They all have cap hits between $750,000 and $925,000, with their average cap hit being $858,125.

The regular season is 116 days long, so every time the Habs send one of these players to the taxi squad for a day, they save 1/116th of their cap hit. That comes out to an average of $7397.63 per day.

There are 47 off days before the April 12 trade deadline, so if the Habs put one of these players on the taxi squad every chance they have, they will save $347,688.58 of cap space. That means, they could acquire a player who still has that amount of cap space owed to his over the remainder of the season.

On the day of the trade deadline, there is 23% of the season left to be played. So, the Canadiens will have built up enough cap space to acquire a player whose makes about $350,000 over the final quarter of the season.

To be exact, the Canadiens will be able to acquire a player with a cap hit no more than $1,493,773.16 on April 12 simply due to the money saved by putting their young players on the taxi squad every chance they get.

Next. Keeping veterans paying off. dark

That’s certainly not going to get them a superstar, but Marc Bergevin loves his depth players, and teams preparing for a long run in the postseason are always interested in adding depth pieces. Thanks to a little salary cap manipulation, the Habs will be able to add another depth piece at the trade deadline.