How much cap space do the Flames have left?

Sean Monahan has signed a lengthy new contract that will keep him wearing red through 2023. Now that the ink is drying on his deal, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving can (hopefully) finish up work on Johnny Gaudreau’s new deal… while keeping an eye on everyone’s favourite thing, the salary cap.

Don’t look now, gang, but the Flames will have almost no wiggle room this season regardless of how rich Gaudreau’s deal ends up being.

ONE-WAYS & LOCKS

These guys are going to be on the team and count against the cap.

Player Cap Hit (Bonuses)
Mark Giordano $6.75 million
Sean Monahan $6.3 million
Dougie Hamilton $5.75 million
Dennis Wideman $5.25 million
T.J. Brodie $4.65 million
Troy Brouwer $4.5 million
Michael Frolik $4.3 million
Mikael Backlund $3.575 million
Ladislav Smid $3.5 million
Matt Stajan $3.125 million
Deryk Engelland $2.917 million
Brian Elliott $2.5 million
Lance Bouma $2.2 million
Chad Johnson $1.7 million
Brandon Bollig $1.25 million
Sam Bennett $925,000 (plus $2.3 million)
Jyrki Jokipakka $900,000
Micheal Ferland $825,000
Alex Chiasson $800,000
TOTAL
(2 G, 7 D, 10 F)
$61.717 million
(plus $2.3 million)

This leaves the Flames needing to add four players (one of which will be Gaudreau). And they could send Bollig to the AHL and save $925,000 in cap space if they really wanted to. (Which they might.)

BUBBLE GUYS

Three of these players will be in the NHL, presuming the Flames carry a full 23-man roster. Four of them could be in the NHL depending on whether Smid begins the season on LTIR or not.

Player
Cap Hit (Bonuses)
Matthew Tkachuk $925,000 (plus $850,000)
Hunter Shinkaruk $863,333 (plus $212,500)
Linden Vey $700,000
Garnet Hathaway $690,000 (plus $2,500)
Brett Kulak $656,667 (plus $120,000)
Tyler Wotherspoon $625,000

If you’re like me and presume that, say, Tkachuk, Shinkaruk and Vey make the team out of camp, that puts the team at $64.205 million base salary (and $3.36 million in bonuses). That would leave $8.795 million for Gaudreau’s contract.

A note on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR): If the Flames are putting Smid on LTIR to open the season, they first need to be cap compliant with him on the team. Meaning that he’d need to be on the opening day roster, then get placed on the LTIR. The way it works is teams are able to replace their LTIR player with a player (or players) of the same or lower aggregate cap hit (and allow them to exceed the cap, if necessary, by the cap hit of the replacement players). So Smid on LTIR would allow them to put Kulak or Wotherspoon on the roster, but it couldn’t act as a magic bullet to give the team extra breathing room cap-wise. It wouldn’t make the $3.5 million of Smid’s cap hit disappear, it would merely allow them to go over the cap by whatever cap hit the replacement bodies have for the duration of his injury. If/when Smid was healthy again, the cap problems would return.

(Oh, and Wotherspoon – let’s pretend it’s him replacing Smid for argument’s sake – would have to clear waivers before the season, go to the AHL, and then come back up once Smid was declared LTIR.)

Anyway, presuming Gaudreau gets a cap hit north of $7 million going forward, the Flames have almost no wiggle room cap-wise to deal with short-term injuries (or to add somebody at the trade deadline). When he was on Sportsnet 960 The Fan following the Monahan signing, Treliving alluded to being right up against the cap. So almost as soon as he manages to get Gaudreau under contract, expect him to start figuring out how to move out some money… and fast.

  • RedMan

    regarding Smid, can he be assigned to the AHL instead of the NHL? i know the cap hit is still in play, but i am wondering if there is a way to have Wotherspoon on the opening roster without clearing waivers

  • Kevin R

    So Ryan, what am I missing? We need 3 forwards. Gaudreau 1 of them & then the other spots will be filled with2 young guys on ELC’s (I don’t believe Vey is going to be one of them) Tspoon is on a 2 way deal, so does that not allow to assign him to Stockton on the final cuts without dealing with waivers? We play the opener with 6 D, & the 7th Smid is then placed on IR. Tspoon can then be called up. When or “if” Smid returns, he can be waived & sent down & the cap savings we get will more than cover Tspoons hit. As for injuries during the year, & there will be injuries, those spots will be filled with call ups on ELC’s or Vey. Really, because we don’t have the space to wheel & deal & add players at the TDL isn’t really that big of a deal. I hope we can be sellers one more time anyway & move Wideman & Stajan & even possibly Engellend. Yeah it looks a little freaky being up at cap max. but is by no means a 911 situation.

    • Dumping Wideman is absolutely impossible now. He isn’t very good by standard or advanced stats, he isn’t a PP specialist anymore (only in theory with those slappers- reality is different), and it all comes with a price tag of $5.25M and a whole bunch of legal baggage.

      If there was even any value or interest left for him, the Flames would’ve already made a deal. Let’s all agree that moving Wideman is out of the question.

  • Marty

    the flames have no cap issues. they have to sign johnny and that’s it. wideman smid and engelland are all off the books after this year, and they can buy out stajan if needed at the end of this season. wideman will perform well when he comes back from suspension and there will be takers at the deadline if the flames aren’t in the playoff picture

  • Just.Visiting

    It’s really important when managing a budget or cap to remember that a dollar is a dollar regardless of to whom it is paid.

    We are set to pay over $16MM to Bollig, Engelland, Stajan, Smid and Wideman.

    That amount could pay for a, say, Sidney Crosby (not that we’d get him), and some depth players or young guys to fill the associated holes in a roster.

    You don’t get into trouble paying fair value for quality.

    You get into trouble by overpaying for the depth component of your roster and forgetting that the dollars you spend limit your flexibility to optimize your talent and ability to compete optimally.

    Perhaps there will be a day when teams wake up and realize this. Given the insanity that was July 1st, I’m not sure if and when that will be, though.

  • jupiter

    I can’t see the logic of overpaying in free agency for Brouwer,without a guarantee that you could dump Wideman, or at least, buy him out.

    Throw handcuffs on self.

    Add to that Burke proclaiming how GM’s make bad decisions in free agency.

  • Just.Visiting

    I know there’s a lot of money at stake, but when the handling of this is looked at in retrospect, I think that it was in Wideman’s long term interest to be contrite, accept the punishment and put this entire episode behind him as a single unfortunate, completely out of character event.

    Having it continue to fester, particularly where the linesman is still injured, is not how Dennis will want to be remembered.

    The continued focus on this event will also have a significant negative impact on his next contract and the number of teams willing to consider adding him to their team.

  • radiomonkey

    Is it possible to start the season with 8 defensemen and 13 forwards, put Smid on LTIR, and then do a paper call-up so Wotherspoon doesn’t have to be exposed to waivers?