Contracts, Cap Space and the Flames Off-Season

The off-season is now upon us!

In the interest of creating a nice, simple clearing-house of information as we leap head-long into analysis, predictions and good old-fashioned prognosticating, here’s a gentle summary of where the Calgary Flames sit right now in terms of contract numbers, free agency and cap space!

DEALS FOR 2015-16

As of today, here is what is signed and sealed in terms of deals for next season. Cap numbers are via NHL Numbers unless otherwise noted.

  • G Jonas Hiller – $4.500 million
  • G Joni Ortio – $0.600 million
  • G Jon Gillies – $0.925 million
  • D Dennis Wideman – $5.250 million
  • D T.J. Brodie – $4.650 million
  • D Mark Giordano – $4.020 million
  • D Ladislav Smid – $3.500 million
  • D Deryk Engelland – $2.917 million
  • D Kris Russell – $2.600 million
  • D Keegan Kanzig – $0.667 million
  • D Tyler Wotherspoon – $0.925 million
  • D Patrick Sieloff – $0.925 million
  • D Kenney Morrison – $0.925 million (General Fanager)
  • D Brett Kulak – $0.657 million
  • D Ryan Culkin – $0.657 million
  • F Jiri Hudler – $4.000 million
  • F David Jones – $4.000 million
  • F Sam Bennett – $3.225 million
  • F Mason Raymond – $3.150 million
  • F Matt Stajan – $3.125 million
  • F Johnny Gaudreau – $1.850 million
  • F Sean Monahan – $1.775 million
  • F Joe Colborne – $1.275 million
  • F Brandon Bollig – $1.250 million
  • F Morgan Klimchuk – $0.925 million
  • F Emile Poirier – $0.925 million
  • F Markus Granlund – $0.925 million
  • F Austin Carroll – $0.925 million (General Fanager)
  • F Garnet Hathaway – $0.925 million (General Fanager)

That’s 29 deals of the team’s allotment of 50 active NHL contracts. Also, I’d be willing to bet that Carroll and Hathaway like got less than the rookie maximum given their draft status, but that’s just me guessing.

For the curious, the following players are waiver-exempt, meaning they can go back and forth from the NHL to the AHL without consideration to losing their rights: Jon Gillies, Keegan Kanzig, Tyler Wotherspoon, Patrick Sieloff, Kenney Morrison, Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Sam Bennett (though he’ll only be able to go back to the OHL), Morgan Klimchuk, Emile Poirier, Markus Granlund, Austin Carroll and Garnet Hathaway.

It’s also worth noting that players on an entry-level deal can also be assigned to the ECHL, which may be something the Flames explore considering (a) they have a lot of players that need ice-time and (b) they own both the AHL’s Stockton Heat and the ECHL’s Adirdonack Thunder outright.

FREE AGENTS

The Calgary Flames have 23 players on active contracts right now that will be free agents come July 1, and a defected player who is technically still a restricted free agent while playing overseas.

A [W] beside a player’s name indicates they are subject to waivers, by the way.

The club has 16 restricted free agents:

  • D John Ramage
  • D Sena Acolatse [W]
  • D Chad Billins (technically) [W]
  • F Mikael Backlund [W]
  • F Bryce van Brabant
  • F Drew Shore [W]
  • F Josh Jooris [W]
  • F Bill Arnold
  • F Kenny Agostino
  • F David Wolf [W]
  • F Max Reinhart [W]
  • F Ben Hanowski [W]
  • F Micheal Ferland [W]
  • F Lance Bouma [W]
  • F Paul Byron [W]
  • F Turner Elson

The team also has 8 unrestricted free agents:

  • G Brad Thiessen [W]
  • G Karri Ramo [W]
  • D David Schlemko [W]
  • D Raphael Diaz [W]
  • D Corey Potter [W]
  • D Mark Cundari (Group IV) [W]
  • F Brian McGrattan [W]
  • F Devin Setoguchi [W]

CAP SPACE

Per recent interviews with Gary Bettman, most likely we’re looking at a salary cap around $71.5 million. Floor is $18 million less, so it’s likely around $53.5 million.

Let’s presume that everybody on an existing NHL contract is (a) on a one-way deal, (b) is subject to waivers or (b) is Sam Bennett, will be on the NHL roster come the beginning of the season. That means a roster that looks something like this:

  • G: Hiller and Ortio
  • D: Wideman, Brodie, Giordano, Smid, Engelland and Russell
  • F: Hudler, Jones, Bennett, Raymond, Stajan, Gaudreau, Monahan, Colborne and Bollig

And a cap hit of roughly $51.687 million when bonuses are factored in. Based on this, the Flames have $1.813 million to spend to hit the floor, and just shy of $20 million (roughly $19.813 million) cap space before they hit the ceiling.

Granted, they’re obviously going to make some moves, so don’t expect these 16 guys to definitely be on the roster. Particularly since a lot of young guys made an impression this season, and some of the older guys…well, didn’t.

  • Greg

    Going to be interesting to watch this offseason. Despite the ample cap space this year, there’s not a lot of room to add contracts when you factor in extensions for Gio, Monahan, and gaudreau next season on top of Backlund and Bouma this year, plus extending or replacing Hudler, Hiller, and Russell in a year. Not many big contracts come off the books by then to make extra cap room (just Jones really).

    There’s also not a lot of room to improve the forward ranks without moving some bodies out. You’re at 12 forwards with just resigning Backlund, Bouma, and Ferland. Can’t imagine they traded for Shore just to let him walk this year. Let alone Jooris, Wolf, etc.

    There’s going to have to be at least a couple guys squeezed out this year. You’d hope Bollig is one (and easy enough to bury in the minors) this year. Much as I like Byron, I can’t help but think he’ll be one.

    I’d have to think adding a dman and then tweaking the remaining mix is all BT will really have room to do.

      • Greg

        I think it’ll take more than that to replicate this season though, particularly adding another possession driving forward. Justin Williams would be ideal but I don’t see the room to add him.

        If he just adds a D and manages the other tweaks ok, I’d give that a pass, but it may not be enough.

        Now if he were to get creative and trade a package of forwards for a top 4 d, add an upgrade in the top 6, and clear up some contract questions (smid, Bollig, Raymond, etc), I’d be really happy and start clearing my 2016 April calendar for another playoff appearance.

        • Burnward

          Agreed on most counts.

          I’m not worried about next year too much though. Pretty sure as long as they get league average goaltending again and don’t get hammered by injuries they’ll be in the playoff mix.

          I do like Bollig though. Raymond can go fly kites however.

  • Burnward

    Just curious, any particular reason why Bennett’s salary is significantly higher (almost double) than Gaudreau’s and Monahan’s? My first guess would be as a higher-drafted player, he automatically slots into a higher bracket. That explains the Johnny Hockey discrepancy, but Monahan was only picked two slots later and one year prior. Strange.

  • BigMcD

    So Flame fans…you will lose either Hillier or Ramo . which one would you rather keep.
    Calgary will not keep both @ 4.5 and whatever Ramo would sign for. Plus the fact they cant send Ortio down without clearing waivers.

    • BigMcD

      Personally, I’d keep Ramo. I think he is the less “flakey” of the two. both he and Hiller have a tendency to let in a bad goal once in a while but Ramo is younger and I think plays exceptional in big games. The trade options are pretty wide open for Hiller considering he’s under contract and you could potential get a 3rd to 5th round draft pick for him, San Jose,Edmonton, even potentially Minnesota if they can’t resign Dubnyk are all looking for goaltending.

      • BigMcD

        It will be difficult to trade Hiller though. Yes he is good but no one is stupid.

        Teams are going to take the approach of not offering anything for Hiller in hopes they can sign Ramo on July 1st.

        It may also be difficult to convince Ramo to actually resign without having first traded Hiller.

        So what do we do. Sign Ramo and hope we can trade one of them? Let Ramo walk? Trade Hiller?

        I honestly think teams will wait to July 1st to see what is available before trading for Hiller. That means we either offer Ramo a competitive problem or let him walk. You see the problem here?

  • BigMcD

    Bennett can’t be making that much money. He is on an ELC and it is capped at $925k (ish).

    So…did the Flames carry Smid’s salary last year in order to make the cap floor and, if so, that actually gives them some more cap room this year, if they need to add pieces or sign guys to slightly more money than they wanted, because they should be able to slide him on to LTIR.

    If you have to bury someone in the minors, you bury Jones. Most of his cap hit counts towards the cap and other teams think long and hard about claiming him off waivers. Flames need to make sure they still reach the cap floor if someone does claim him though or oops.

    I think it is clear that the Flames have some pieces that can, and maybe need to, deal away before the beginning of next season in order to upgrade the club. They have a bunch of players that can play in the bottom nine and their biggest need is a solid 3/4 defenceman. I also think they need a trigger man on the right side as that was a huge weakness in the playoffs. The Ducks could cheat to the left side because of that.

    • BigMcD

      Bennette’s cap hit includes bonuses. It’s highly unlikely that he hits them all DJ he will get paid less. But the cap hit remains the full amount as if all bonus were hit regardless.

  • everton fc

    Again, random thoughts.

    1. I’d move Hiller and re-sign Ramo. I’d go with Ramo/Ortio, have Gillies on the farm, in the bullpen.

    2. Of the RFA’s, I’d pen:

    •D John Ramage
    •F Mikael Backlund [W]
    •F Drew Shore [W]
    •F Josh Jooris [W]
    •F Bill Arnold
    •F Kenny Agostino
    •F David Wolf [W]
    •F Micheal Ferland [W]
    •F Lance Bouma [W]

    I’m on the fence about:

    Byron
    Reinhart
    Elson

    Of the UFA’s, I’d sign:

    •G Karri Ramo [W]
    •D David Schlemko [W]

    I might sign Thiessen to back-up Gillies, but there are lots of Brad Thiessen’s floating around that might come cheaper. And younger.

    4. They need to move Hiller, Raymond, Bollig and Colborne.

    5. They need to hope Smid retires or they buy out his contract.

    6. They need to sign Eric Roy. The sooner the better.

  • BigMcD

    Ramo, Backlund, Bouma, Ferland, Giordano kind of priorities. Byron. Give another go.

    A 2nd rounder for Hiller or a D prospect.

    Aquire another vet D to push the kids. Maybe just keep Diaz if cheap. Morrison & Woahspoon will not be gifted a spot.

    Soccer players play heavier than the oilers.

    & A list actors have less of a range than the Canucks. Respect on that front. Truly.

    GFG.