Report: the Flames have a $630k cap overage from last season

The 2015-16 season was a big disappointment for the Calgary Flames. Their goaltending was lousy. T.J. Brodie missed a chunk of the season. Dennis Wideman decked a linesman. Jiri Hudler wasn’t very good. The goaltending was lousy. (Did I mention the goaltending?)

The pain of 2015-16 will continue to be felt in 2016-17, folks: because of performance bonuses pushing them over the cap last season, the Flames will face a salary cap penalty of $630,500 for this season, according to a report from Cap Friendly.

And the reported reason for the cap penalty is rather surprising.


The salary cap last year was $71.4 million. Ignoring performance bonuses, the Flames spent approximately $69.033 million against the cap on player salaries – including $5.763 million on healthy scratches and bodies buried in the American Hockey League. That left the Flames with roughly $2.366 million in cap room for bonuses… before the reported $733,333 hit from the Shane O’Brien buyout, which pushed the room for bonuses to just $1.633 million. Under the terms of the CBA a team is allowed to go over the cap by the value of their performance bonuses (up to a maximum of 7.5% over the cap), but anything they go over is taken off of the next year’s cap.

Five fairly prominent youngsters had entry-level deals that included performance bonuses: Sam Bennett ($2.3 million), Sean Monahan ($850,000), Johnny Gaudreau ($1.85 million), Hunter Shinkaruk ($212,000) and Jakub Nakladal ($107,000). Markus Granlund, Brett Kulak, Oliver Kylington and Garnet Hathaway also spent time with the Flames and had performance bonuses on their deals. All told, the Flames had roughly $5.1 million in potential bonuses on their roster.

Here’s how the CBA defines Schedule A bonuses (for forwards, which will be the primary factor here):

Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 10.37.52 PM

Based on this, presumably Gaudreau and Monahan hit all of theirs (and likely maxed out their $850,000 each, which is enough to bump the Flames into cap overage territory. Add in potential ice time bonuses for Bennett and games played bonuses for everybody else, and it seems fairly probable that seven players hit some performance bonuses.

Schedule B bonuses are individually negotiated and tied to individual awards, but given Gaudreau was top 10 in both points and points-per-game, it seems likely that his performance last season is the major factor in the cap overage situation. The games played bonuses for the remaining players were likely fairly minor in comparison.


Acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a “bad deals for bad deals” deal, O’Brien had one rough year with the Flames and then was bought out on June 30, 2014 after clearing waivers that day.

Given that the compliance buyout window AND the regular buyout window were one and the same in 2014 (e.g., it’s not like the Flames could’ve missed a deadline and had the compliance buyout become a regular buyout), we’re looking into what the heck happened there and have reached out to the league for clarification.


The Flames had a projected $8.5 million left to sign Gaudreau (and a 14th forward) before the cap penalty. Now, the Flames have roughly $7.87 million left to sign Gaudreau. And to pay for a 14th forward. And to deal with any short-term injuries (with call-ups) that wouldn’t qualify for cap relief under the long-term injury reserve system.

Between the millions of dollars tied up in high-cost depth players like Brandon Bollig, Deryk Engelland, Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid, along with the buyout to Mason Raymond and the cap penalty, the Flames have a lot of dead money on their cap and not a lot of flexibility for the coming season. Presumably this means the team doesn’t carry many extra bodies during the season, which would leave them really vulnerable to injuries and hurt their line-up flexibility.

  • Sanintarious

    This is a huge blow to the already tight cap situation. Tre will very likely have to send some kind of prospect and or pick to a team to take on one of their bad contracts.

    Teams will know they are desperate to clear cap space and take full advantage of that.

    Lets see if BT can shock us all and find a way around this mess.

  • supra steve

    Does anyone believe that Ladi Smid is going to be in NHL shape to play any part of this season? Placed on LTIR at the start of the season, that’s $3.5million in flexibility. Assuming Gaudreau’s contract is signed before the season starts…next the Flames sign deals (that have already been negotiated) with F. Hamilton and J. Nakladal.

    • Thunder1

      Super Sport,

      Good points but if you look a story back or two you might see that Ladi has been out with the boys this summer.

      What if he’s healthy?

      A guy doesn’t play 600 on the blue line by fluke.

      Trash it as you will, Flames Nation.

      Hamilton and “career year” Smid solve our 3/4 woes.



      I see no reason behind your decision to have given up your perfectly good ride in favour of your mid-life foray into Banzai red.


      The guy in the F-150 going the other way!

      • supra steve

        Forester XTi is long gone. Still have a Subi STi, with a few performance upgrades. Supra also an upgraded turbo model with a targa top. Both are a lot of fun. One of the perks of mid-life. My back hurts, my feet hurt, hair is thinning…but I like my cars a LOT more than what I drove in my earlier days.

        My only F150 was a supercharged Harley Davidson Edition. Beautiful truck and it was quick, for a truck, but handling was not great, ultimately not anywhere near as fun to drive as the car I replaced it with after one years use.

  • FeyWest

    I’m pretty sure Tre and Co. All knew about their cap situation way before this came to light in the Fan world. Don’t believe anything has changed. Probably one of the hitches that has been making negotiations tight.

  • ronipedia

    Hudler was fine last year, RYAN. Just not the top 5V5 scorer in the league, like the previous year.

    Anyways my solution to all this is to trade Wideman. For anything. More cap overage even.

    • MontanaMan

      Are you really comparing Brouwer to Jooris? Brouwer to a guy who couldn’t crack a weak Flames forward group and who signed a two way contract this year? Their contracts are significantly different but so are the players.