White Contract – Roster and Cap Implications

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 25: Defenseman Steve Staios #27 of the Calgary Flames skates against the New York Islanders during an NHL game at the Nassau Coliseum on March 25, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)


With Ian White’s deal landing a Happy Meal short of $3 million, the Flames last order of business this off-season is to become cap compliant before the season starts. While Cap Geek reports the Flames are $2M and change over the cap, the truth is that one can readily delete AHL minor leaguers Staffan Kronwall without much fuss. The Flames won’t be carrying 8 defenders and Kronwall is the most obvious choice to get shuttled out of town.

With Niklas’ lest talented brother out of the picture, the club is actually about 1.85M above the ceiling. As such, technically only one of Ales Kotalik or Steve Staios needs to be pushed overboard for Calgary to be back in the black. Replace Staios’ 2.7M on the roster with Matt Pelech’s 600k, and the Flames cap space balloons to $250k(!). Woohoo! 

Of course, that would leave the margin for error/injury during the year razor thin. It would also mean the Flames would have next to no opportunity to make any additions via trade during the season without first dropping significant injury. So while demoting Staios to captain the Abbotsford Heat would technically solve the immediate problem of getting beneath the cap, it would mostly be a short term solution.

There’s been much mention of Calgary getting "cap relief" from a potential long-term injury to Daymond Langkow, but as we’ve discussed before, the LTIR-exemption doesn’t simply delete a contract from the team’s budget – it merely allows them to go over the cap by the replacement players salary (up to a maximum of the LTIR players cap hit) for as long as the injured guy remains out. So if Langkow begins the year in the infirmiry, the cap relief wouldn’t extend to the dual issues of injury replacement and trade space mentioned above.

What all this means is: even if the Flames are willing to demote Steve Staios, ideally one more pricey contract is going to have to go out the door. Deleting Kotalik instead of Staios creates the same problem – he’s only 300k more expensive and the cap savings would only be marginally better at 550k.

Removing both Kotalik and Staios, on the other hand, boosts the club’s cap space to 3.25M. If you assume the team would replace Kotalik with another near-minimum wage earner (Conroy at 600K for example), the Flames would have a full 13 forward, 7 defender roster and $2.65M to spare. Now the question is…is it even possible for the Sutter to demote $5.7M in salaries?

Natually, this is just one (and, in my mind, ideal) scenario. Suggestions for others are welcome…

  • I’m thinking that Kotalik probably stays, much to my chagrin, if only based on comments by Feaster the other day.

    I would like to see Sutter pull some of his magic and find a new home for Sarich and Staios.

    I have a funny feeling that Langkow may not play for a long time (if ever). That being the case, his LTIR does have the potential to solve a lot of cap issues. The following 23 man lineup includes Langkow’s $4.5m, but I can see getting cap relief until at least Christmas?

    This is all sort of a moot point, because I really don’t think Sutter is anywhere close to done. But an interesting exercise for a Sunday afternoon in August.


    Alex Tanguay ($1.700m) / Olli Jokinen ($3.000m) / Jarome Iginla ($7.000m)
    Niklas Hagman ($3.000m) / Matthew Stajan ($3.500m) / Rene Bourque ($3.333m)
    Curtis Glencross ($1.200m) / Daymond Langkow ($4.500m) / Ales Kotalik ($3.000m)
    Raitis Ivanans ($0.600m) / Mikael Backlund ($1.270m) / Tim Jackman ($0.550m)
    / Ryan Stone ($0.500m) / David Moss ($1.300m)

    Jay Bouwmeester ($6.680m) / Robyn Regehr ($4.020m)
    Mark Giordano ($0.891m) / Ian White ($2.999m)
    Staffan Kronwall ($0.500m) / Adam Pardy ($0.700m)
    / John Negrin ($0.790m)

    Miikka Kiprusoff ($5.833m) /Henrik Karlsson ($0.500m)

    BUYOUTS: Nigel Dawes ($0.141m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $57,510,828; BONUSES: $712,500
    CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $2,601,672

  • Robert Cleave

    I’ll pedantically note that Staios’ actual paycheque is only 2.2M so Sutter would only be asking Murray Edwards to have a 5.2M bonfire if AK and SS share a two BR flat in Abby.

    In all seriousness, I don’t think Daz is done either, but the only guy with any potential value is Sarich, and a trade for him might well just get a small level of relief. In other words, the Flames might have to take back 2.5 – 3M for his 3.6M ticket. That sort of move plus Staios to Abbotsford might get the club 750-1M under the wire. Kotalik will be hard to move, but if he went with a 2 – 2.5M salary returning, it would have the same effect, and that might be the best case scenario. If either of those two gents are moved, I at least hope that the contract coming back doesn’t have a longer term than two years, and preferably one year if at all possible.

  • There’s also the rumored “Regehr for X” packages being thrown around. Assuming the return is some young, cheap forward, would folks be comfortable with a defensive corps like this:

    Bouwmeester – Gio
    White – Sarich
    Staios – Pardy


    • Bob

      I’ve heard the same rumors. The latest is that Lombardi is interested and is throwing options at Darryl. The ramblings about Reg being available have been going on for some time. Keep in mind Regehr has a NTC, and since he has a young family started I don’t know if he’s in a hurry to leave.

      That said, the chance to go to someone he thinks could be a contender real soon (which L.A. could be considered), may not presuade him to switch addresses.

      That said, I think you’ll see some of our defensive salary go to California all right…to Anaheim. I just can’t see it being Reg though!

      • Anaheim signed Sutton, don’t think they’ll be taking on any of our guys aside from possibly Kronwall, but where’s that gonna get us?

        How about Kronwall to Detroit for a guy like Helm or Abdelkader or even a pick for that matter. I know it wouldn’t do much to our cap but I could see Detroit interested in a cheap defender who could improve playing with his brother.

        The Ivanans/Jackman signings don’t make any sense. We could have gone the SJ route and just sent guys up/down from the A every couple games and had the same effect.

        I think Daz is gonna pull the trigger at some point this month on a deal, there are still moves to be made within the league.

        Stajan at 3.5 looks UGLY right now on capgeek.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      No. I would most definitely not be comfortable with this, unless the return was a top 3 forward. Not somebody getting paid top 3 money (Joker 1.0), but an actual top 3 player without significant health risks.

  • dustin642

    @ SoV-Lou Lamorello does that every summer.

    @Casey-I would like to keep Sarich. He can still be effective and 2.65 in cap space his contract is easier to swallow.

    @Kent-Hell no. You would have either Sarich or Rip van Winkle with White as your second paring, and that would be a disaster.

  • If you assume the team would replace Kotalik with another near-minimum wage earner (Conroy at 600K for example), the Flames would have a full 13 forward, 7 defender roster and $2.65M to spare.

    hey, here’s an idea !!! let’s replace kotalik with nigel dawes at $850K.


  • Keep thinking something like Regehr and Moss to Washington for Alzner, Chimera and 2nd (1st if possible) would be handy. Chimera would really solidify the bottom 6 and Alzner would be a nice building block to work with. Assuming Staios goes the A, they’d have about 2.3 Mil in cap space with this, more than enough to bring up Backlund if they so chose.

  • Adam

    Trading Regehr means trading our shutdown man. I don’t think we’ll fair very well playing deep teams like San Jose, Detroit or even Vancouver when our next best defensemen (White and Gio) are both offensive players. And as much as I love Sarich I don’t think he can play the minutes to shut down teams like that.

    • Adam

      You forgot about 7 million dollar JBo, eh? 😉 With Regehr gone, Calgary’s defence would be less physical, but JBo/White/Gio are all very capable defensively.

  • Adam

    The worst part of those two option (Staois and Kotalik) is that neither of those players should have ever been traded for. The fact that Daryl Sutter remains an NHL GM is a farce. 75% of other hockey markets would have had his head on a platter by now.

    Calgarians need to demand his resignation! This is bullshit.

  • Just fooling around for a bit, don’t necassarily like… created $8M in space; need 2 more players… maybe a #1C 😉 (har har)

    Rene Bourque ($3.333m) / Brett Sutter ($0.500m) / Jarome Iginla ($7.000m)
    Alex Tanguay ($1.700m) / Matthew Stajan ($3.500m) / Olli Jokinen ($3.000m)
    Curtis Glencross ($1.200m) / Mikael Backlund ($1.271m) / Ales Kotalik ($3.000m)
    Ryan Stone ($0.500m) / * Craig Conroy ($0.600m) / Tim Jackman ($0.550m)
    Raitis Ivanans ($0.600m)
    Jay Bouwmeester ($6.680m) / Mark Giordano ($0.892m)
    Ian White ($3.000m) / Robyn Regehr ($4.020m)
    Steve Staios ($2.700m) / Matt Pelech ($0.600m)
    Miikka Kiprusoff ($5.833m) / Henrik Karlsson ($0.500m)
    (these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
    ROSTER: 21; CAP:$59.4m; PAYROLL: $51.121m; CAP ROOM: $8.279m; BONUSES: $0.425m

    EDIT: Kinda forgot about Daymond… so that would be 4.5 in space that’s only temporarily available if he’s on LTIR… (unless he’s done for good).

  • Greg

    I’m betting the plan right now is to wait as long as possible to fix it to see if they can avoid burning money in the AHL. With Langkow on LTIR, Sutter can take all the time he wants to make a move. Let’s say he doesn’t come back until mid-November. Maybe by that point another team gets a rash of injuries on defence, and then Staois or Sarich become movable. Or perhaps Kotalik bounces back and has ~7-8 goals in the first 20 games, and suddenly he’s movable.

    Even if neither happens, unless another solution magically appears on Sutter’s door step, I think he waits right up until he’s ready to activate Langkow, then waives whichever guy(s) he’s resigned to bury at that point, hopes he gets claimed, then sends him to the gulag for the rest of the year (no way any of those guys get called up on re-entry waivers).

    Incidentally, is the nail in the coffin on Conroy’s career now? I hope if Langkow’s return is still questionable in a month, they sign Conroy to back-fill for him. If he’s decided not to go elsewhere, I hope they at least offer him a training camp invitation so he’s in game shape come October in case it makes sense to sign him then.

  • robficiur

    It really should not be that hard to trade Staios. His cap hit is under $3 million and just for one year.

    LA just lost Green for four months – they have cap space.

    Other teams might be looking for a veteran defensman.

    Problem is that this type of trade has to be different than what we are used to. In the pre salary cap – Staois to LA for a 4th line forward. Now the Flames dont’ want to add salary. So a prospecct or a pick.

    Even if it was Staois for a 5th round pick (to anywhere) you have saved yourself almost $3 million.

    I have seen where teams have traded Staois and a fourth pick for a long shot prospect. The idea here is I will give you something to take our player.

    Waivers would be the easiest first thing to try – then the other team just takes him for nothing. Has that even been tried?

  • I’m sure we’ll see Darryl throw someone on waivers, but that’s last resort. Right now I believe he’s entertaining all offers, sitting on a couple……For all we know the Flames org loves Staios and wants him on the team.

  • robficiur

    a true flames capologist would also factor in about 20-50K for john armstrong, who has hurt himself in training camp now for two years straight and will presumeably spend a couple weeks on IR before being sent back to abby.

  • MC Hockey

    I would think Sutter will do the waiting game while listening for trade offers. And then having to send someone to the minors before October…remember he is stubborn. I cannot see him getting rid of Regehr ever, too much man-love there for Reg…almost the same for Sarich but not quite. Sutter is probably holding out for too much for Sarich or Staios. As per an earlier post, I could see Hagman (thought I like him) to Anaheim (to play wiht other Finn Koivu) with Sarich to take back any ugly contract in Jason Blake but net savings is 6.6 mill less 4.0 mill = 2.6 million. Some ideas above are crazy…nobody values our players that much. Other teams we are likely to trade with are those with only 6 D signed (see Cap Geek Team Comparison by position) and lots of cap space, maybe needing Sarich for leadership…perhaps St Louis Blues or other teams.