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How Kevin Gravel Recall Affects Predators’ Playoff Roster Limit



Photo of Kevin Gravel courtesy of the Milwaukee Admirals

The Nashville Predators recalled defenseman Kevin Gravel from the Milwaukee Admirals ahead of the team’s 11 a.m. practice Thursday morning at Bridgestone Arena.

The 32-year-old blue-liner will serve as the Predators’ eighth defender with Spencer Stastney listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury and Luke Schenn, who missed Game 5, dealing with an undisclosed illness.

For purposes of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and NHL roster limits during the playoffs, it seems like the situation with Gravel’s recall sheds light on how playoff rosters work and clarifies a question some may have as to how a rule operates in practice.

During the playoffs, teams are limited in how many players they can recall at any given time. The maximum number of recalls allowed at once is three, excluding emergency recalls.

That means if a team sends a player to the American Hockey League, it can then recall another player, but it can’t exceed three recalls at once.

However, even though there’s a cap of three recalls, teams can have a fourth player if that player was on the roster prior to the start of the playoffs, suggesting the three-recall limit only applies to players that were added to the roster after the playoffs start.

This explains why a player like Stastney is allowed to remain with the team even though Gravel is being recalled.

This rule is covered in Article 13.12(n) of the CBA, but as you can see, it can be a bit confusing:


If this understanding is correct, then the Predators won’t be able to recall any more players unless they send one down first.

While this detail is irrelevant with the team’s immediate focus on winning Game 6 Friday night at Bridgestone Arena (6 p.m. CT puck drop), it’s an interesting aspect to consider for future playoff rounds should the Predators advance past the Vancouver Canucks.

Follow Clay Brewer on Twitter/X: @ClayBrewer10

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