How Many Players Can an NHL Team Dress?

An NHL team can dress and play a maximum of 20 skaters and 2 goaltenders per game.

NHL Rule

20 skaters and 2 goaltenders

At the start of each game, each team must dress 20 skaters and 2 goaltenders, which must be approved by the officials. The 20 skaters include 4 forwards, 3 defenseman, and 2 utility players. In balanced or even strength situations, teams are required to dress 3 forwards and 2 defensemen. In short-handed situations, teams are only required to dress 1 forward and 1 defenseman.


The NHL is a physical league and with that comes a lot of injuries. Players are constantly getting hurt and it seems like every team is dealing with injuries. So, how many players can an NHL team actually dress? And what happens when a team is short on players because of injuries?

Short-term and long-term

An NHL team is allowed to carry a maximum of 23 players on its active roster at any given time. This includes two goaltenders and 18 skaters (forwards and defensemen). In addition, each team is allowed to dress and play an emergency goaltender if its two regular goaltenders are unable to play.

Due to the physical nature of hockey, injuries are common. As a result, each team is also allowed to carry up to seven additional players on its reserve list. These players can be recalled from the minors at any time during the season in order to replace injured players on the roster. However, once a player has been recalled from the minors, he cannot be sent back down for 30 days (or until after the next trade deadline, whichever comes first).

Emergency Recall

In the event of an injury to one of their players, NHL teams are allowed to dress and play a replacement player. Forwards and defensemen can be replaced, but goaltenders cannot. If a team is already carrying the maximum number of 23 players on its roster and they suffer an injury, they can request an emergency recall from the league.

4 players per season

NHL teams dress 20 players per game – 18 skaters and 2 goalies. In addition, they can carry up to four extra players on their “emergency recall” list. These are usually young players who are playing in the AHL or other lower-level leagues, and who can be called up in case of injuries or other roster changes.

Injuries are a common occurrence in the NHL, and teams often have to make last-minute changes to their lineups. The emergency recall list allows them to do this without having to make a formal transaction or go through the waiver process.

Players on emergency recall can be sent back to their minor league team at any time, and they do not have to cleared through waivers first. This makes it a popular option for teams when they need to make a quick roster change.


The NHL team is allowed to dress 20 skaters and 2 goaltenders each game. However, they are only allowed to have 18 skaters and 2 goaltenders dress if they have a player suspended.

League-mandated and team-initiated

Suspensions can be divided into two categories: those levied by the league and those levied by the team. League-mandated suspensions are handed down by the NHL following an event or string of events that occurred during a game, while team-initiated suspensions are typically given following an incident that took place off the ice.

The length of a suspension is also dependent on its type. League-mandated suspensions are typically shorter, as they are based on a specific incident that occurred during a game. Team-initiated suspensions tend to be longer, as they stem from an accumulation of poor behavior or continued bad attitude.

The most common type of suspension is the league-mandated variety. These are generally given for on-ice infractions, such as fighting, elbowing, high sticking, etc. The length of these suspensions can range from a few games to a full season, depending on the severity of the offense.

Team-initiated suspensions are less common, but they can be just as severe. These are usually given for off-ice transgressions, such as breaking team rules, being arrested, or getting into fights outside of games. The length of these suspensions is generally much longer than those levied by the league, and can sometimes result in a player being banned from the team permanently.

Salary Cap

If a team is at the salary cap, the maximum amount of money that the team can spend on player salaries for the season, they are said to be “at the salary cap.” The NHL salary cap is currently $81.5 million per team.

$81.5 million per team

The salary cap is the upper limit to the amount of money that an NHL team can spend on player salaries. It is a “hard” cap, meaning that there are no exceptions (such as for injuries or other special circumstances). The current salary cap is $81.5 million per team.

The salary cap was introduced in the 2005-06 NHL season, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association. The salary cap was set at $39 million per team for the 2005-06 season, and has been increased each year since then. The salary cap for the 2018-19 season is $81.5 million.

The purpose of the salary cap is to ensure that all teams have a fair chance of being competitive, by limiting how much each team can spend on player salaries. The salary cap also helps to keep player salaries down, by creating a “market” for players’ services.

There are a few exceptions to the salary cap: teams can exceed the cap to re-sign their own players ( known as ” Bird Rights” ), to sign players to offer sheets, and to pay players performance bonuses. In addition, teams can exceed the salary cap by up to 10% during the off-season, but they must be under the cap by opening day of the regular season.

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