Vegas Golden Knights players on LTIR
Is the NHL's LTIR loophole unfair? Vegas Golden Knights' strategy sparks debate and potential rule changes.

The NHL’s LTIR (Long-Term Injured Reserve) has become a hot-button topic in the league, with the Vegas Golden Knights’ aggressive use of the loophole drawing criticism. Elliotte Friedman, on Sportsnet’s Saturday Headlines, revealed that the NHL may be looking to reassess its LTIR rules within the upcoming CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).

The crux of the issue lies in the way some teams “game the system” by placing players on LTIR to free up salary cap space. While the rule is designed to provide teams with financial relief when facing genuine long-term injuries, the biggest complaint, highlighted by Friedman, is that “if you’re not able to play game 82 of the regular season you shouldn’t be playing game 1 of playoffs just a couple days later”.

Vegas Golden Knights Push LTIR Limits, NHL Reassessment Looms

The Vegas Golden Knights have garnered particular attention for their recent LTIR maneuvers. By placing players such as Mark Stone on LTIR, they’ve gained flexibility to acquire high-impact stars – a practice that some see as bending the spirit of the rule. This has spurred calls for reform to prevent teams from gaining an unfair advantage through potentially strategic LTIR use.

Will the NHL Address LTIR Abuse?

It remains to be seen how the NHL will address concerns surrounding LTIR abuse in the new CBA. Possible options include tightening the criteria for LTIR eligibility, imposing a deadline for player return, or even introducing restrictions on playoff participation for players who spent significant time on LTIR during the regular season. Any significant shift in policy will have far-reaching implications for team roster construction and trade strategies league-wide.

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