Injuries and Absences Through the First Third of the Season

Last night’s game between Calgary and San Jose was the 27th game of the 2015-16 Flames calendar, which places us roughly one-third of the way through their schedule. Through 27 games, there have been many transactions, tinkers and injuries that have impacted the lineup.

For your information, here’s a brief rundown of which players have been paid not to play this season, by virtue of illness or injury. Included in brackets is their cap hit for the games that they didn’t play in, which is particularly important/damning for healthy scratches in a salary cap system. (Injured players don’t usually count against the cap unless they’re still on the 23-man roster.)

GOALIES

  • Jonas Hiller – missed 12 games with lower-body injury [$659,000]
  • Joni Ortio – missed 6 games as a healthy scratch [$44,000]

Yes, Jonas Hiller made as much money on the injured reserve for two weeks than Ortio would at the NHL level all season – Ortio’s full cap hit at the NHL level is just $600,000 (since he’s on a one-way, that’s what he’ll make all season).

DEFENSE

  • Ladislav Smid – missed 14 games as a healthy scratch [$598,000] and 6 games recovering from neck surgery [$256,000]
  • T.J. Brodie – missed 8 games with a broken hand [$454,000]
  • Jakub Nakladal – missed 4 games as a healthy scratch [$40,000]
  • Deryk Engelland – missed 2 games as a healthy scratch [$71,000]
  • Kris Russell – missed 2 games with a hand injury [$63,000]

Ladislav Smid has made nearly $600,000 so far this season for games in which he was able to play but didn’t suit up. Similarly, Engelland netted a cool $71,000 and while Nakladal has yet to make his NHL debut, he took about $40,000 back to the AHL for eating popcorn for four games.

FORWARDS

  • Lance Bouma – missed 24 games with a broken leg [$644,000]
  • Mason Raymond – missed 12 games as a healthy scratch [$461,000]
  • Brandon Bollig – missed 10 games as a healthy scratch [$152,000]
  • Micheal Ferland – missed 8 games with a knee injury [$80,000]
  • Josh Jooris – missed 7 games as a healthy scratch [$83,000]
  • Joe Colborne – missed 5 games with a hand/wrist injury [$78,000]
  • Derek Grant – missed 3 games as a healthy scratch [$25,000]
  • Jiri Hudler – missed 2 games due to illness** [$98,000]
  • Markus Granlund – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$11,000]
  • Sam Bennett – missed 1 game with an upper-body injury [$11,000 on non-bonus cap hit]

Hats off to Mason Raymond, who’s made $461,000 for games he didn’t play in. Brandon Bollig’s also done well in that respect, bringing home north of $150,000. The remainder of the scratches have been relatively inexpensive. 

Of note here is Jiri Hudler, who the Flames media notes say was still sick for the second game of his absence but various folks (including us) have concluded he was probably more of a healthy scratch.

THE NUMBERS

The salary cap this season is $71.4 million. The Flames have spent $1.534 million so far this season on the cap hit for healthy scratches (including a game of Hudler), which accounts for about 2% of their entire cap space for the season through just 33% of the schedule. It doesn’t sound like a ton, but when you note that the team’s carried only 22 players – or just two extra healthy bodies – for much of the season, it’s a pretty hefty amount of money to be spending on players that aren’t helping your team win games. They’re on pace to spend just shy of $5 million on healthy scratches over the full season at this pace.

  • class1div1

    Cost of doing business in Pro Sport.

    The Flames management have bigger problems than that. The horrible timing of the downturned economy while trying to get funding for a new building. As well as losing players in a expansion draft ,if that occurs.

  • Danomitee

    This is what happens when you are really uncertain about your team or you are committed to players that you don’t really like in the lineup, or both.

    If the cap is going to be tight next year, the Flames are going to have to make unpleasant decisions and stick to them or they are going to have to make some trades to reduce the cap hits and roster commitments.

    If nothing else, you reduce the money you are throwing away. Ordinarily I would call it profit or, alternatively, reduced expense, but a sports franchise is a different model so it is probably just a smaller loss.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    curious how the Flames would compare to other teams in the league. I imagine we would be one of the worst for cap hits sitting on the bench with Raymond, Smid, etc. Mind you there are a lot of bad contracts out there. Philly comes to mind.

  • Danomitee

    Treliving has to work some wizardry. Some of these contracts are going to be very hard to move ie Bollig/Raymond/Hiller but the GM has to redeem himself by shedding a salary or two somewhere other than the minors. Granlund deserves to play, and frankly we need him. Our team shouldn’t suffer because we’re overpaying plugs.

  • Craik

    Ryan Pike said “(Injured players don’t usually count against the cap unless they’re still on the 23-man roster.)”

    Injured players DO count against the cap even if they are placed on IR and removed from the 23 man roster … players on LTIR can have all or a portion of their salary removed from the cap … Hiller and Bouma are examples of players who have been injured this year but since they were placed on IR (not LTIR) and removed from the 23 man roster, their entire AAV will still count against the CAP

    I should have said something after Ryan did a whole article on how the Flames will need to clear some cap space when Hiller comes off IR when indeed that was not the case