We’re rapidly approaching the NHL’s trade deadline – March 2 at 1pm MT – and one thing that’s on everybody’s mind is the salary cap. (And lunch.)
But mostly the cap. It’s at $69 million US right now, and the escalation of the cap is dependent on where the Canadian dollar lands, or is expected to be, considering that a lot of league revenues are paid in Canadian dollars. At the All-Star Game, Gary Bettman indicated a general scale of escalation based on the Canadian dollar’s value, and that places the cap at around $71.7 million US next season if there’s an 80-cent dollar (and it moves up or down about a quarter-million with each cent).
I don’t think the Flames are too worried about where the cap wiggles to for next season.
For the 2015-16 season, the Calgary Flames organization has 26 players under contract, in addition to 16 pending restricted free agents. The benefit of Calgary’s success this season is it makes it a bit easier to project out next season’s cap situation, because the likelihood of the team going scorched-earth at the deadline or the draft is pretty low.
Signed to one-way deals for next season are the following gentlemen:
- Goaltenders Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio
- Defensemen Kris Russell, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Ladislav Smid and Deryk Engelland
- Forwards Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Mason Raymond, Joe Colborne, Matt Stajan and Brandon Bollig
In addition, you can almost definitively state that Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are locks for next season. And let’s presume two things:
- The RFAs on the roster will be retained.
- Nobody with an existing contract will be moved in the near-future.
Neither of these are gonna actually happen – the Flames will probably move players in both categories – but for this exercise, let’s make life easy on ourselves and presume that RFAs Mikael Backlund, Paul Byron, Josh Jooris and Lance Bouma are all retained and given raises of some amount.
So here’s a vague, vague look at the team’s 2015-16 roster as we sit right now.
Presuming the roster shakes out like this and the RFAs get the raises I vaguely project – completely off the top of my head and only for illustrative purposes, you have three open spots for new kids and/or bodies you bring in from outside the organization, and roughly $54.3 million in committed cap space.
If the cap ends up in the vicinity of $71.7 million (or so), that means the Flames have approximately $17.4 million in cap space before they start their pre-trade deadline wheeling and dealing. That’s a tremdenous amount of wiggle room to have, particularly considering all the of the Flames major pieces are under contract through next season (at the least).