The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to play the Detroit Red Wings this evening, but because of recent COVID-related absences, did not have a full roster to do so. The team came into the day with just 13 healthy, active skaters for tonight’s game, five short of a normal lineup. They also only had the cap space to make one recall, around $1MM free from long-term injured relief.
Instead of making the Hurricanes play four short, the NHL has allowed them to make two emergency exemption recalls today. Stefan Noesen and Andrew Poturalski are those exemption recalls, which need to have a cap hit of $850K or less, but will now not cost the team anything against the cap. Jack Drury, with his $925K cap hit, will be the team’s regular recall. That means that the Hurricanes are still going to play two players short tonight.
As team reporter Walt Ruff writes, the league made the decision to avoid a safety issue in tonight’s game. The Hurricanes will still play short, as other teams have this season, and then after tonight’s game will be able to make two additional emergency exemption recalls. Once again those recalls would have to have cap hits of $850K or less, but it would give them 18 skaters for this weekend’s back-to-back situation.
There will certainly be teams frustrated that the Hurricanes are seeming to get cap relief when they have not, but it also sets a precedent from the league moving forward. The Calgary Flames, for instance, will also not be able to field anywhere near a full lineup should their season resume before they get all of their players back from the COVID protocol.
Importantly, this still means that Carolina is playing down two skaters tonight, a severe disadvantage as they try to move forward. Good news for Drury though, who will be making his NHL debut after a strong start in the AHL.