Roger MIllions: Flames Not to be a Cap Team Next Year

 

 

SNET’s Roger Millions dropped a bit of a bomb on twitter today. He claims the Flames will operate significantly under the NHL salary cap for the upcoming season:

If true, that change can have some wide ranging implications for the club.

For those who missed it, Bob McKenzie recently reported the new (potential) cap for the upcoming season would be about 70.3M, absent any new CBA alterations. The Flames already have about $51M committed to next season, so a self-imposed $55M shrinks their roster budget from just north of $19M to about $4M, give or take.

That amount includes only 8 forwards total and only 3 defenders you would classify as top-4 guys. So Calgary has significant holes to fill and, if Roger’s assertion is accurate, virtually no budget space to do it.

That means the club will have to be dealing at least one of the big tickets this summer: Kipper, Iggy or Bouwmeester. I floated these possibilities by Millions and he responded:

The implication is that Jay Bouweester is on the block heading into the draft. So of the the three big ticket players, the Flames are apparently looking into trading the (admittedly overpaid) 28-year old, rather than the 35 -year old forward on the last season of his current deal or the 36-year old puckstopper who has had one notably good season in the last four.

This obviously worries me. We’re still dealing with rumors and speculation, but Millions is sufficiently close to the team that we can say there might be a fire below all this smoke. I have no principled argument against the club trying to keep budget costs around 50-60M (that’s a lot of cheddar) but looking to move JayBo ahead of the other guys smacks of a marketing rather than hockey decision – he is a far better bet to be sustain his current performance level than the other guys.

Bouwmeester has become a whipping boy in town because of his lackluster offensive totals and huge cap hit, so his departure would be met by cheers in many quarters, but he remains far and away the most capable defender on the Flames blueline. His ouster would leave a giant hole on the back-end and, because of meh output and big salary, it’s likely the team won’t get concurrent value in return should they move him. Moving him for some futures represents a faily big gamble, particularly because the team is adamant they won’t be "rebuilding" any time soon.

Of course, what this also means is the team should get aggressive about deleting other inefficient salaries for players that aren’t nearly as essential as Bouwmeester. Anton Babchuk (2.5M) and Matt Stajan (3.5M) come to mind.

Conclusion

Beyond the particulars, deleting that much cap space from the budget simply means the Flames will have a lot less flexibility going forward. If true, a $55M will pose a significant challenge for Feaster, particularly as the club continues to try to ice a competitive club in the short term. Calgary was facing anu uphill climb in that regard going forward anyways, so doing so on the cheap (which the team hasn’t attempted since the salary cap came into effect) will be, um…interesting to say the least.

I expect the Flames will have a response to this report within the week. We’ll update as more info is released.

  • xis10ce

    Just came from a flames lunch that had KK, Feaster, Rolly and Conroy on stage taking questions and this tweet was brought up. KK said that it’s news to him that the owners group thinks this team will not be a cap team. Feaster and KK both said that they will make as much funds needed as possible upwards to the cap, but at the same time overpaying players to be a cap team provides no value, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some cushion in the cap come the start of the season. I would be surprised if they traded Jay Bouw.

  • xis10ce

    I want this to happen and then I want the team to be bad for like 5 years so the owners see it as a sinkhole of money and sell it to someone not named murray edwards

    also lol at the fact they want a new stadium to be built with public funds. if that ever goes to council, expect me to be there.

  • Tach

    @ Kent Wilson (seriously, the reply button never seems to work when I am logged in)

    That’s kind of my point. Even if the Flames are “spending to the cap” (and, frankly, I don’t see that they need to do so this year unless they are picking up a Suter or Parise) they are not really “spending to the cap” unless they take on some back ended deals, bury guys in the minors etc.

    I could easily see someone with a passable knowledge of the Flames contract situation I noted above saying to Millions “Based on the way our contracts are set up, it doesn’t look like we will be spending to the cap” and Millions not being sophisticated enough to pick up on why such a statement was extraordinarily ambiguous.

    • Yeah could be. At this point, Im satisfied with seeing how it plays out. Either the Flames have decided to hard cap their budget like the Nasvhille’s of the world, or something was lost in translation when Roger was discussing things with his guy.

  • Tach

    What is most troubling to me about this is that I have always figured Millions to be, relative to others of his profession, somewhat credible.

    If it develops that this bullet is not true, that credibility evaporates.

    As a journalist and one who has material and serious followers even on Twitter, I submit that it remains incumbent that he has his facts triangulated correctly.

    If this bullet IS true, then kudos to Roger for the heads up. As someone who bleeds Flames red pays hard green for seasons tickets, this would (with the caveat outlined below) be a troubling development.

    I can see this $55 million figure being a number that management would take the payroll to until such time as a new CBA is done. The rumor mill has the cap at $70 million for next year. Making commitments up to $55, then, once all the details on the CBA are known, work on fleshing out the roster from there would appear to be a rational strategy. Maybe I am in the minority, but I have a lot more confidence in ownership and Feaster and Company that they have this in mind going into a summer with a lot of unanswered CBA/NHLPA questions.

  • So the Flames wanna trade a 28 year old guy that provides them with an elite shut down ability and a ton of minutes rather than dealing 2 guys way past their prime?? Yup, sounds exactly like what this team would do.

  • RexLibris

    @GaryL

    If Yakupov’s last name was MacDonald and he stood 3 inches taller they might bite, but I believe that the result from Howson’s work last spring/summer has chastened both he and ownership enough that they will simply accept what the lottery gods gave them this year and stink next season.

    Of course, this being Columbus, Mason will likely stand on his head and steal them 12 or 15 games, sending them spiralling out of the “McKinnon” lottery.

  • RKD

    If I had to rank who would be traded, I would do it in this order

    1. Jay-Bo
    2. Kipper
    3. Iggy

    Feaster has always been a staunch supporter of both Iggy and Kipper in the past, haven’t heard the same kind of support for Jay-Bo.

    I think they won’t trade Kipper unless Ramo was ready to come to Calgary at the start of the next season.

    We all know ownership refuses to trade Iggy and we have heard Feaster say Iggy is part of the solution and not the problem. It is early, but no talks of an Iggy extension could indicate Jarome would be free to walk on July 1, 2013 and by not trading him management won’t look like the bad guy. This would be foolish because they would not get any assets for him.

    Trading Jay-Bo really wouldn’t make any sense unless they could get Suter or another high end top 2 guy to sign here. I guess we will see what happens.

  • RexLibris

    I would expect that there would be more desire for Kipper than JBo. Kipper’s contract is FAR more manageable to send away. Kipper would be easier to deal from our standpoint since his NTC goes away. I think we should only trade him if it gets us a first round pick. As in 6-12 overall.

  • It looks like St Louis is doing a good job of signing their young guns. Tarasenko and Rattie both signed ELCs in the last couple days. Man they are going to be uber scary if even any of these one young players can score 30+ goals a season. Jon Davidwho?

  • RexLibris

    Looking over the Blues roster, though, there aren’t many elite game-changing talents available. Pietrangelo is an excellent defenseman, and Oshie looks very good, but I am left wondering if the Blues are going to race back into the NHL only to hit the same ceiling they did prior to their post-lockout rebuild.

    One player that I would have interest in from their system is Cody Beach. Not so much from the Flames perspective as his talents would do nothing for the organization as a whole, but the Oilers could certainly use some of what he may bring to the table as a prospect.

    Playing behind appropriate talent Beach could provide a physical presence that would have the opposition thinking about him instead of his more skilled teammates.

  • RKD

    @RKD: If you keep with the bottom feeding floor cap franchise, then siddenly Kippers & Stajans contract look fabulous, cap hits higher than actual salary. Maybe we should trade for Gomez.

  • Franko J

    Wow the way I see it no matter 50, 55, and / or 60 million salary cap hit this team will have next season, that is plenty of dough for mediocre performance and uninspired play. If it wasn’t for Kiprusoff playing the way he did for the majority of last season Calgary could be drafting between 5 to 10.

    I consider Cammelleri in the mix as well as jbo, Iggy and Kipper. Tanguay as well. Plenty of money is coming of the salary cap on July 1ST, but there is still plenty of salary eaten up by the big four.

  • Franko J

    With 2013’s UFA class being SIGNIFICANTLY better than this year, maybe owners and management want to keep money available for some big signings next year. There are a lot of good players, including some good centers. Maintaining the status quo until then and then making a big splash could be a good way to revamp the team.

  • Franko J

    Trade kipper for a prospect at next year first rounder trade jaybo give a big push for suter. Bomb next season draft mackinnon play are prospects next year do a 1 year rebuild and have a team that can contend