Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I've looked reasonably hard for an answer and have not found one. What is the history behind the NHL rules for how many players a team can dress in a game? Obviously, 50+ years ago the concept of a backup goalie was pretty foreign, so teams would only dress one goalie. Also, if you look at old rosters and statistics, many times you will find fewer than 18 skaters total to have played a single game.
Does anyone know the progression of how many players were allowed to be dressed throughout NHL history?