What Is the NHL Roster Freeze?

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Colorado Avalanche center Alex Newhook, left, drives past New York Islanders defenseman Robin Salo in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Denver.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Dec 21, 2022, 1:15 PM
  • The NHL roster freeze is in effect from 11:59 p.m. local time on Dec. 19.
  • It will be lifted at 12:01 a.m. local time on Dec. 28.
  • The freeze prevents any players from being traded, waived or loaned.
  • Player recalls are allowed to fill roster holes.

The holiday season is upon us, and while Stanley Cup odds still fill the minds of hockey fans, players get the rare opportunity to press pause on the business side of the NHL. 

The annual roster freeze came into effect at 11:59 p.m. local time on Dec. 19 and will run until 12:01 a.m. local time on Dec. 28. In addition, there will be no NHL games played from Dec. 24-27, giving players a break to spend the holiday season with their loved ones.

So how does the NHL holiday roster freeze work? 

What Is the NHL Holiday Roster Freeze?

Every year, the NHL imposes a roster freeze to prevent players from being traded, waived, or loaned to the minor leagues during the specified window. The freeze affects players on the active roster, injured reserve, non-roster, and injured non-reserve.

If a team wants to place a player on waivers, their final opportunity before the freeze was Monday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. ET, leaving Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. ET as the final opportunity for teams to claim any player who was waived on Monday.

Roster Freeze Exceptions

The roster freeze has certain stipulations to allow the NHL to continue essential functions throughout the period.

During the freeze window, teams are still allowed to recall players to fill roster holes, as well as make moves to address salary cap and roster limits in the event that a player is activated off the LTIR. If a player was on an NHL team’s active roster under Emergency Conditions prior to the freeze, they can still be returned to their club during the window.

As mentioned above, players that were placed on waivers before the freeze window can still be claimed until 2 p.m. on Jan. 20. In that event, the player must immediately report to their claiming team, even during the freeze period.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

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Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.