The NHL is in the middle of a rule overhaul, and the league is considering expanding the number of players required to wear a helmet to one-thirds, according to a source.
The league is reviewing how it can best accommodate players, the source told ESPN.com on Thursday.
The rule changes have been proposed for the last six seasons, with the rulemaking proceeding as the NHL’s salary cap has grown to more than $90 million and its roster of players is growing at a rapid pace.
The changes, if implemented, would expand the number required for a player to wear the helmet to two-thirds of the roster, which would mean more than 100 players, including goalie Cory Schneider, who have played in more than half of the league’s games.
If the NHL does not enact the rule changes, there would be no limit to how many players a team could have in the NHL next season, which could lead to players who had been wearing helmets for years being pushed out of the NHL entirely.
There is also a possibility that players with a history of concussions could be exempt from the rule, but the league does not have a rule for that.
The NHL has made it a goal to keep the number on the field as low as possible to prevent injuries and avoid a repeat of the 2011-12 lockout that forced the NHL to scrap the lockout-shortened season.