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Conor Garland, Adin Hill assigned to Tucson ahead of Holiday Roster Freeze

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The Holiday Roster Freeze always brings up so many questions each year. So what is it and why does it matter?

NHL: Washington Capitals at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Early on Wednesday, the Arizona Coyotes reassigned forward Conor Garland and goaltender Adin Hill back to their AHL club, the Tucson Roadrunners.

The assignment takes place just hours before the NHL’s Holiday Roster Freeze, which comes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, and until 12:01 a.m. on December 28. Given the rules of the NHL Roster Freeze, there should be no cause for alarm for this move and it should only be temporary.

The NHL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement reveals:

d) Holiday Roster Freeze.

(i) For all Players on an NHL Active Roster, Injured Reserve, or Players with Non-Roster and Injured Non-Roster status as of 11:59 p.m. local time on December 19, a roster freeze shall apply through 12:01 a.m. local time December 28, with respect to Waivers, Trades and Loans; provided, however, that Players may be Recalled to NHL Clubs during this period and, provided further, that if a Player is placed on Regular Waivers prior to the roster freeze period and is claimed during such roster freeze period, the roster freeze period shall not apply and the Player shall immediately report to the claiming Club. However, during the roster freeze period a Club can make any Player transactions necessary for the Club to come into compliance with Article 50 as a result of a Player being removed from the Bona-Fide Long-Term Injury/Illness Exception.

(ii) Notwithstanding Section 16.5(d)(i), a Player on emergency Recall may be Loaned during the roster freeze period and a Player who was Recalled after December 11 may be Loaned through 11:59 p.m. local time on December 23, provided such Player is not required to be placed on Waivers during the roster freeze period in order to effectuate such Loan.

(iii) No later than ten (10) days before the holiday roster freeze, the League shall provide the NHLPA with a holiday roster freeze and restricted day memorandum.

To put it shortly, the NHL Holiday Roster Freeze exists so players on an active roster won’t have to worry about being waived, traded, or loaned during the holidays. The exceptions to the freeze are free agency signings and AHL recalls.

That’s the key here, AHL recalls. Under the roster freeze rules, if Garland and Hill remained on the roster through 11:59pm tonight, they’d have to stay on the Coyotes active roster until the end of the freeze. Sending them down to the Roadrunners gives the team more leeway with what they can do during the freeze: They can call them back up to Glendale whenever they’d like, rather than be unable to send them down if they needed to.

According to CapFriendly, the Coyotes now have 20-of-23 roster spots filled, with 11 forwards available. So you could very well expect Garland to be called back up almost instantly; unless Vinnie Hinostroza somehow makes a return before the break.

As for Adin Hill, his recall might be a little more up in the air. It’s not much of an issue, but it could be just to give him some reps down in the AHL in the upcoming games against San Jose. But post-freeze everything might go back to normal. So, don’t worry too much here.