Life’s pretty good right now for Brad Treliving’s Calgary Flames. They’ve won five in a row overall (and nine straight on home ice). They’ve managed to drag themselves from the National Hockey League’s basement and into the verge of a playoff position.
Hopefully Treliving is enjoying life right now, because he’s going to have quite a few things to juggle going forward as he attempts to re-sign wunderkind Johnny Gaudreau, steady Sean Monahan and any number of other players on expiring contracts.
First and foremost, the most common question I’ve been getting on Twitter (and elsewhere) has been “Hey, when can they re-sign Johnny Gaudreau?”
The simple answer is that based on Article 50 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, they can re-sign Gaudreau at any time during the final year of his contract. In other words, they can re-up Gaudreau (and Monahan) anytime they wish.
But then there’s a bit of a wrinkle.
From the CBA:
(TL;DR: teams can apply their remaining cap hit, plus the value of the expiring contracts on their roster, to the cap hit of future extensions.)
Let’s focus on Gaudreau first. He’s on a contract that has a cap hit of $1.85 million, including bonuses. The Flames have approximately $3 million of cap space right now, and they have (including Gaudreau) approximately $25.7 million in cap hits on expiring contracts. So the Flames are easily able to throw money at Gaudreau without much hassle from the CBA or next year’s salary cap.
But there are challenges that go along with extending Gaudreau.
First, there’s the obvious implications towards Sean Monahan’s contract. While Gaudreau will most likely get a higher AAV than Monahan because of how prolific he’s been at scoring at the NHL thus far – Gaudreau’s 0.87 career points-per-game drawfs Monahan’s 0.64 – Monahan’s not gonna get peanuts. He’s also gonna get fairly well-compensated. So if we presume that Gaudreau gets, I don’t know, $7.5 million per year (aka Vladimir Tarasenko money), that means Monahan probably makes about $6.5 million or thereabouts. [Aside: these numbers are pulled out of thin air, we’ll get into what these guys should be getting in the coming days/weeks.]
Secondly, here’s a listing of NHL players under contract for next season:
- Forwards (8): Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Mason Raymond, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig and Micheal Ferland
- Defensemen (6): Dougie Hamilton, Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland and Ladislav Smid
- Goalies: nobody
The challenge with Treliving re-signing Gaudreau (and subsequently Monahan) in-season is this: the Flames have no real idea right now what their goaltending situation is going to be next season (or how much goaltending will cost), are probably trying to figure out which prospects (if any) could jump to the NHL, what return they could get for Kris Russell/Jiri Hudler/David Jones, and how they’re going to replace those gentlemen on the roster. So Treliving needs to have a vague idea of how he’s going to fill out the rest of the roster before he ties up $14 million (or thereabouts) on two of the team’s best players.
They’re restricted free agents and neither has arbitration rights. The deals are going to get done, it’s just a matter of time.
But with the rest of the roster very much in flux, the amount of relief teams will get from a changing salary cap in question, and the situation regarding the impending expansion of the league – and subsequent ability of general managers to possibly jettison some troublesome contracts – I’m not shocked that Brad Treliving hasn’t made a deal quite yet.
Gaudreau’s cap hit is going up every time the kid scores a dazzling goal or makes a great play – so basically every game – but until there’s a bit more clarity with any of the numerous situations that impact the team’s roster going forward, particularly in net, don’t be shocked if we don’t hear very much about a contract extension for Gaudreau (or Monahan).