Spending To The Cap: Some Scenarios


I know this all came down last week and MAYBE it’s too late to talk about it, but by now you’ve all probably caught wind of Brian Burke, noted blatherer, mention in an interview that GM Brad Treliving has the autonomy to spend to the cap this season should he see fit.

But I’m a trend follower, and a late adopter (I didn’t sign up for twitter until 2011, buddy), so guess what, we’re talking about it.

Now, of course it goes without saying that it’s entirely possible (and frankly, probable) that the Flames don’t end up employing this course of action, whether they’re authorized to or not. And that’s a good thing, because the sheer logistics that go into spending that much money in one season is too overwhelming to try and grasp.

Which is why, naturally, I’m attempting to do it. Most people don’t know this, but I’m an expert hobby capologist, and I’ve taken it upon myself to explore all the options available to the Flames.

I mean…they didn’t ask me to. But I’ve been obsessed with the idea of just who (or what) the Flames would have to do to max out their ample cap flexibility, and I believe I’ve come away with a few tenable scenarios that perhaps the Flames should consider if they feel they are within shouting distance of a playoff spot. And while the Flames could trade for 2.36 Sidney Crosbys and stay cap compliant (Spoiler alert: this is not one of the options I explored, at least not until human cloning becomes far more reliable), I will attempt to address team needs and fix the current glaring holes in the lineup in order to create a more complete, competitive playoff hockey team.

Some Criteria

There’s two theories on why the Flames at this point would flirt with maxing out the cap this season, and they’re as close to polar opposites as you can get as far as team building philosophies go. The first is a prudent, calculated approach in which Treliving and friends help the opposition ease the burden of their own cap struggles by taking in an expensive, likely expiring, and overall problematic contract into the fold, for the low price of young assets the Flames are continuing to try and stockpile. Damn that’s noble.

But to spend to the cap to meet these needs seems downright dopey, and that seems like a strategy you’d want to experiment once, maybe twice in a season, and that practice leads you nowhere close to the ceiling, so you wouldn’t expect Burke to say the things he said under this approach, because it’s not a factor in this game. 

Which is why we’re focusing on the much crazier, and certainly much more fun philosophy, the one that implies the Flames feel like they have a shot at the playoffs, and are willing to go kamikaze headfirst towards the end of the season making that charge. Maybe that means employing the same methods from the approach above (it’s good to collect assets even if you’re buying over selling), and that’s cool, but it also means playoff rentals, and that’s when things fall on their ear. Let’s have fun exploring this plan of action today.

In an effort to make this exercise as REALISTIC AS POSSIBLE, which is obviously my goal, I had to restrict myself from just simply looking at how much of any given player’s contract would cost this season against the cap, as obviously not just any player is going to be available to the Flames. More often than not, the highest paid players are pretty decent at what they do, and tend to be locked up by above average teams fighting for their own playoff lives (or are Eric Staal). Obviously, you can’t just trade for Ryan Getzlaf, so we’re not going to explore that thread at all.

No, I had to limit my experiment twofold:

  • a) any player the Flames pick up need to fit a need for the team going into the playoffs. It’s obvious there are some positional depth weaknesses within the current roster, and it’s not like the team needs to search for a 1-2 defenseman.
  • b) as mentioned, we have to limit our field to expiring contracts (maybe players with an extra year) on subpar teams who are willing to part with their pricey underachievers who just “need a change of scenery”

But it’s also important to note that the Flames today have just a shade under $20.8 million in cap space, (with a staggering $61.2 million availlabe at the trade deadline, so for today we’re going to pretend this doesn’t exist, because, damn) so to max THAT out would require a lot of veteran reinforcement, probably more than what’s available on the market, so I had to get creative and have our theoretical trade partners throw in a few sweeteners that would drive the cost up.

Now that we’ve established a template, let’s make some trades!

Scenario A: Horcin’

The Flames trade Sven Baertschi, Devon Setoguchi, John Ramage, and a 1st round pick to Dallas for Shawn Horcoff, Eric Cole, a 2nd round pick, a 4th round pick, and $5 million dollars of Texas State Debt.

This addresses needs for both teams, as the Flames pick up a couple of big, meaty veteran forwards in Horcoff and Cole. Both have been in lengthy playoff runs in their career and Eric Cole even has a Stanley Cup ring, and that kind of experience is worth his $4.5 million and a fraction of Texas’ oustandings. Horcoff can play both center and left wing, while Cole can manage either flank, and both players have proven to have a bit of secondary scoring punch over the course of their careers, so these two players alone round out Calgary’s depth. Meanwhile, Texas has something to the tune of 292 trillion dollars owed, and sure 5 million is really just pocket change relative to that, but every little bit helps, and the Flames would be doing their part in maintaining a continued strong bond between two energy powerhouses in turbulent times that see the price of oil dropping every day. Diplomacy has no price tag, citizens.

Losing that first round pick stings, I guess, but you can’t sneeze at a second and fourth round pick, especially when you know Alberta’s economy will have a strong ally for years to come.

Scenario B: Hedjing Their Bets

Flames trade Lance Bouma, the 2nd and 4th round picks acquired from Dallas to Colorado for Jan Hejda and a 1908 Honus Wagner Trading Card


With the additions of Horcoff/Cole contracts and the subtractions of Baertschi, Gooch, and Ramage, the Flames now have $6.26 million in cap space, which is more than enough to go out and acquire some defensemen to shore up the third pairing, which as we all know was sorely needed. Jan Hejda is an underrated defenseman who can play in all kinds of scenarios on the ice, and can mentor some young up and comers like Tyler Wotherspoon, and basically only Tyler Wotherspoon.

With Brodano doing their thing for nearly 30 minutes a night and Dennis Wideman scoring 50 goals on the power play, Hejda will only be counted on to play a steady defensive game and do whatever he can to keep the Flames from being hemmed in their own end.

Meanwhile, Honus Wagner is one of the finest baseball players to ever put on a mitt, this card is in mint condition, and the former Pirates’ short stop’s card is valued at $2.8 million dollars. Baseball cards are a real solid financial investment, plus it’s just really cool, and all of the Flames’ friends are going to be really jealous. Robbie Connors might even stop giving them a wet willie every time he sees them like the big meat headed jerk that he is. Jessica Snyder might invite them to her birthday party. Everything’s really turning around for the Flames.

I mean we’ll miss Lance Bouma, but you can’t turn down this opportunity.

Of course, now the Flames sit at $985,000 in cap space, and I guess they’ll want to spend it, for the sake of accuracy.

Uh…shit, trade for Colton Orr. I don’t care.

Bonus Alternate Universe Scenario

Flames trade Curtis Glencross to the Penguins for Sidney Crosby’s mumps, clone Sidney Crosby 2.3 times, pay him exactly what patient zero Sidney Crosby gets paid

Stanley Cup baby. That .3 Crosby is the best 4th line center this team has ever had.


It’s the Christmas season, and you’ve probably done some holiday shopping and come to the realization that it’s really easy to spend money. And it is (I’ve done some shopping too, I know)

But when you have a lot of money to spend, and have to spend a lot of money in a limited market, it gets really hard, and man, maybe the Flames could donate some of that cap space to it’s fans to help pay off some of those holiday bills. I mean, it’s just sitting there.

But more realistically, they’ll use it to spend on the betterment of their team, which is what we all really want.

So that’s why I’ve outlined these totally doable, sense making scenarios that makes the Flames better short term as they cruise (and I mean cruise) towards the franchises second (really, should be third) Stanley Cup victory. And if Brad Treliving decides to venture off the extremely practical path that I’ve laid out for him today, perhaps he’ll finally stop ignoring all the emails and take heed of my other proposition to help bridge the gap between the Flames and the competition: by buying that death ray hockey stick I’ve been developing in my top secret lab for quite some time now.

To victory!

  • Big Ell

    Great article as always, Floob, but I was expecting to see trades happening to bring some picks and young d our way.

    I see us moving one of our goalies at the deadline to make room for Ortio. We could get quite a bit there, because of the Flames ability to trade goalies for high picks – Reto Berra for a 2nd.

    Also, I would be willing to move Glencross but he isn’t playing as well as we would like to maximize value.

    We need a young D prospect that can come in and help our third pairing while developing.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Maybe we get Sharp out of Chi and a young D prospect like clandening, dahlbek TVR.

    We take on the contract that the hawks want to move and get a young d as our prize.

    I doubt we would have to give much for this.

    • redhot1

      Sharp has a lot of value actually. He scored like 80 points last year. It’s not like it’s a salary dump, and it’s not like Flames are doing the Hawks a favour. I guarantee teams will be lining up to get Sharp.

      If you want Sharp, AND a top D prospect, we’ll have to pay. Quite a bit.

    • Captain Ron

      It’s probable there will be a “dead cat” bounce with his arrival that should take them out of the Derby. We’ll see how long they get out of the good odds territory for that.

      But, as I said on the ON thread, they have not addressed any of the shortcomings of the team so really all that happened was MacT fired someone because he couldn’t do his own job right. Morons.

  • Graham

    The owners currently have the best of both worlds; a full stadium at home with a low budget
    hockey squad. Plus, the team is rebuilding so their is no public outcry for the club to add costly NHL talent. The decline in the dollar bites, but low budget equates to big profits for the owners. Its status quo through the end of the season….

  • Graham

    I saw a picture on facebook with the real Mr.Bean behind the Oiler Bench. He applied for the job and said “sure why not” and he got the job. — Oh please Flames if you lose a few games at least keep playing well .

  • Derzie

    Boston was robbed of Seguin in a moment of weakness. Maybe we can steal Hall from Edmonton while they clean house. Do we have any kids of ex-Oilers in the system we can offload. Hartley would have Hall firing on all cylinders with the old Sven-treatment.

  • redhot1

    Flames were around .500 mark before all the injuries with bad possession numbers. Went 12-4 after with different players. Have now lost 5 in a row with injured players returning. Is it really that complicated? This is when Treliving makes his money he needs to make decisions not just say we have good problems, gm needs to make the right decisions now. When people say a player in untradeable is bs, that’s a gm’ s job to figure it out.(there are also diff routes he could take)if you possessthe puck all night but can’t get chances in prime scoring areas and more importantly can’t convert does that mean you deserve to win the game, no, the game doesn’t work that way. Seems to me the younger this team gets the better they are, and they can only develope more, unlike SOME, not all of these veterans, who no doubt are good players but not a fit with this current flames team imo. Flames are at the point where they could be 0-9 till they meet the oilers…

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Agreed. Except for this whole roster size/ salary floor business that ties his hands and forces him to keep vets that aren’t injured enough to be on the IR.

      Now, if he goes out and trades for a really useful piece with a big salary that would allow him to “dump” veteran salary in Addy, well, then that might be different. But right now, I’m not sure who is available that we would really have to have.

      Plus if team chemistry is really good, better than the recent record, you need to be really careful turfing people who are or might be “glue guys”.

      • Christian Roatis

        Agreed. Dump veterans like Enggeland and Bollig in the AHL and replace with a high salaried guy who will be a free agent at end of the year.

        Anyone on the Kings we can get? They are in cap problems as Voynov continues to sit as a paid player.

    • Burnward

      By the end of the season, BT should have all the sample size he needs to compare the “all rookie squad” with the hybrid team that we see now.

      Until then, it would be stupid to knee-jerk 3 or 4 vets off the team because of a 5 game sample, where some vets were getting their legs back, yet the team was still in every game.

      Patience. There was a whole FN article a few weeks back, warning not to “cry Vets” when everyone came off the IR and the luck coincidentally stopped.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    More details emerging regarding Slava Voynov.

    Despicable acts he engaged in.

    Send him to jail for ten years, void his contract, then dump him back in Russia with a predator label on his paperwork.

  • Captain Ron

    Opened up this thread thinking there would be an intelligent conversation about some realistic scenarios. Stupid article, not funny and not useful. Must be hard up for material.

  • Reidja

    Everyone seems to have missed the point that Floob was obviously parodying Sutter’s trade style when he was here… I think…

    Yandle please, for Baertschi and some goalie prospect.

  • I really thought it was an article on likely scenarios…until I read the first transaction. I have to assume it is a joke right???

    Someone should try and take this on for real (someone besides me 🙂 )

  • piscera.infada

    When I saw the title of this article, I was pretty angry as I thought it would be realistic scenarios. I think the point of the article is to illustrate how silly the “spend to the cap for vets” argument really is. This team was never going to do this. I mean, no one could think option ‘A’ is a reasonable deal considering where this team is today. No one.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Chicago is going to be in some trouble in the offseason. Maybe we can take Saad from them if we also take Bickell and his $4M/y for 2 more years. Bicekll does have a modified NTC though.

    I wonder how interested they are in offloading Hossa (35) and seven more years at $5.275M? Apparently no NTC, according to Capgeek.

    I’m not saying I want Hossa when he’s 42 (or 37+) but if the deal is sweet enough…?

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Aw come on guys, with all that’s been going on recently (Lambert, Flames losing, advanced stats talk), this post is kinda refreshing. Thanks Loob!