Flames May Face Cap Crunch (If They Ever Get Healthy)

The Calgary Flames made a roster move today, likely due to some questions surrounding the availability of winger Micheal Ferland on their impending three-game road trip. The recall of Derek Grant has clarified a few things both in Calgary and Stockton, but it might have also signaled some potential cap troubles down the road for the NHL club.

THE FLAMES

Right now, the Flames have 23 active players on their roster:

  • Two goaltenders (Hiller and Ortio)
  • Seven defensemen (Russell, Giordano, Wideman, Smid, Hamilton, Engelland and Nakladal)
  • 14 forwards (Colborne, Backlund, Gaudreau, Jooris, Stajan, Jones, Raymond, Monahan, Hudler, Bollig, Grant, Frolik, Ferland and Bennett)

There are officially two players on the injured reserve – T.J. Brodie and Lance Bouma. (Ferland is not presently on the IR.) Because of the length of their injuries, I don’t believe they count against the salary cap. Right now, the cap hit of the Flames active roster (and Karri Ramo’s buried cap hit) including performance bonuses is $66.7 million, per NHL Numbers figures.

They’re fine cap-wise right now, with about $4.6 million in space. But when they get healthy, and replace Nakladal with Brodie (a cap hit increase of about $3.9 million) and Grant with Bouma (a cap hit increase of $1.5 million), and suddenly all that space is gone. Teams are allowed to go over the cap by their bonus cushion every season, but any over-spend because of performance bonuses comes off of next year’s cap (and with next year’s cap looking pretty nasty already, they probably don’t want to hinder themselves already). As a result, I wouldn’t be shocked if they roll with fewer than 23 players for cap reasons.

Also, keep an eye on Mason Raymond: he cleared waivers on October 6 and thus can be sent to the AHL without having to go through waivers again anytime before November 5. That said, demoting Raymond would only gain the Flames $950,000 worth of cap relief.

THE HEAT

Stockton is presently carrying 24 active players, having re-assigned goalie Kent Simpson and forward Mitchell Heard to the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder this week.

  • Two goaltenders (Ramo and Gillies)
  • Eight defensemen (Kulak, Kylington, Wotherspoon, Stevenson, Morrison, Kanzig, Sieloff and Johnson)
  • 14 forwards (Hathaway, Hamilton, Elson, Agostino, Klimchuk, Carroll, Poirier, Shore, Riley, Granlund, Orr, Smith, Arnold and Van Brabant)

Ryan Culkin (shoulder) is the lone injured Stockton player. He’s slated to be back sometime in November.

Until the Flames get healthy, this is probably the ideal scenario for the Heat. They can rotate bodies in and out without having to worry about having way too many players around.

THE THUNDER

Calgary’s ECHL farm team has six players on their roster with contracts with the organization, though they’re all AHL deals.

  • Goalie Kent Simpson
  • Forwards Ryan Lomberg, Louick Marcotte, Michael Kirkpatrick, Mitchell Heard and Mads Eller.

None of these guys are prospects of note quite yet, but the Thunder have been scoring a ton, so maybe keep an eye out for these guys just in case they get brought up to Stockton.

    • Mort

      Go to the NHL Numbers website if you want to see a detailed look at our cap scenario.

      When Brodie and Bouma come off the IR we are not even close to the cap…not sure where Pike is getting his numbers from.

      • supra steve

        Generalfanager tends to agree with Pike. I had a look at NHLnumbers too, your accounting looks flawed. I don’t think they are currently in real danger of surpassing the cap, but they sure are getting close enough that any trades/demotions need to consider cap implications in the near as well as the long term.

        Last year the short term cap space gave them some flexibility, that is history now. The Stamkos to Flames rumours suddenly look less plausible, and they already looked pretty unlikely.

        • Scoring_guru

          I really don’t think there is too much concern about the cap. What would be the point of having so much forward depth in Stockton chomping at the bit for any kind of ice time with the Flames, & all on ELC’s?

          The other thing is that BT could move a few of our players like Russell & get an injection of 2.5mill cap space pretty easy, without taking salary back. Things would have to be pretty bad if BT was forced into that scenario.

          I do agree, we may not have as much flexibility to make moves we shouldn’t in the likes of a Stamkos rumblings. The deal doesn’t makes sense from a hockey perspective, I really wouldn’t expect it to make sense from a cap perspective.