One of the more peculiar aspects of the 2015-16 Calgary Flames campaign was some notable absences. We’ve already gone over the many, many injuries of Lance Bouma (and the other Flames) during this past season. But how often did the Flames sit out healthy bodies and pay players that were able to play not to?
Well, it turns out it happened a lot.
For the purposes of ease, each player is listed with the number of games they were paid not to play on the NHL roster and their cap hit in brackets. (In Dennis Wideman’s case, his suspension pay was calculated per day and not per game, so his cap total is different as a result.)
- Niklas Backstrom – missed 13 games as a healthy scratch [$542,000]
- Joni Ortio – missed 10 games as a healthy scratch [$73,000]
- Karri Ramo – missed 4 games buried in AHL [$139,000]
- Jonas Hiller – missed 4 games as a healthy scratch [$220,000]
Players that were available to play (but paid not to): 27 games of healthy scratches, 4 games buried in AHL, $974,000 of salary cap.
Here’s the real idiocy of the three goalie situation: they ended up paying for three goalies for the balance of the season – they also had to pay Ramo and Hiller during their injuries – and burnt three-quarters of a million dollars on goalies that didn’t even dress for games.
- Ladislav Smid – missed 28 games as a healthy scratch [$1,195,000]
- Dennis Wideman – missed 19 games due to a suspension [$565,000] (calculated per day of suspension)
- Jakub Nakladal – missed 9 games as a healthy scratch [$90,000]
- Deryk Engelland – missed 8 games as a healthy scratch [$285,000] (Also missed 3 games as non-roster for the birth of his child.)
- Tyler Wotherspoon – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$11,000]
- Brett Kulak – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$10,000]
Players that were available to play (but paid not to): 47 games of
healthy scratches, 19 games of suspension, $2,156,000 of salary cap.
There’s a lot to digest here: Smid was paid $1.2 million of cap space to sit and watch. Wideman was unavailable by his own actions and the Flames (a) had to pay him and have the money diverted to the Players’ Emergency Fund (half of the funds were returned to Wideman after his supension was reduced) and (b) they had to pay for a replacement, therefore getting them kicked in the salary cap twice. In the grand scheme of things Engelland’s absences weren’t a big deal, and Wotherspoon and Kulak were both up on emergency recalls and sat when the injured player wasn’t too injured to play.
- Mason Raymond – missed 19 games as a healthy scratch [$730,000], 34 games buried in AHL [$912,000]
- Brandon Bollig – missed 28 games as a healthy scratch [$427,000]
- Josh Jooris – missed 20 games as a healthy scratch [$238,000]
- Markus Granlund – missed 7 games as a healthy scratch [$79,000]
- Joe Colborne – missed 4 games as a healthy scratch [$62,000]
- Derek Grant – missed 3 games as a healthy scratch [$25,000]
- Lance Bouma – missed 2 games as a healthy scratch [$54,000]
- Freddie Hamilton – missed 2 games as a healthy scratch [$16,000]
- Emile Poirier – missed 2 games as a healthy scratch [$21,000]
- Johnny Gaudreau – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$11,000 on non-bonus cap hit]
- Matt Stajan – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$38,000]
- Sean Monahan – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$11,000 on non-bonus cap hit]
- Kenny Agostino – missed 1 game as a healthy scratch [$9,000]
Players that were available to play but paid not to: 91 games of healthy scratches, 34 games buried in AHL, $2,653,000 of salary cap.
Man, that Mason Raymond contract sure seems bad now, doesn’t it? Bollig and Jooris are likely 13th and 14th forwards on a good team – or even in the AHL on a deeper team – but man, let’s just lay it out there: Brad Treliving burnt off $1.642 million paying Mason Raymond not to play for his team. Forgive the frankness, but that’s absolutely insane.
As with Kulak and Wotherspoon, Hamilton, Poirier and Agostino were scratched in emergency situations when injuries were less severe than originally thought.
SUM IT UP
The Calgary Flames spent $5.763 million paying players not to play for their team (players that were healthy and otherwise available). That amounts to 8% of the salary cap for a team that, after performance bonuses, will probably be over the salary cap for 2015-16 (and eat into the 2016-17 cap as a result).
The main culprits? Mason Raymond and Ladislav Smid’s bad, bad contracts; combined the two players ate up $2.837 million being paid for games they missed as healthy scratches or after being buried in the AHL. Both players are still under contract for 2016-17.
Unless the Flames want to spend another season burning money, they need to find their way out from under some of their bad contracts.