Cap implications of Grossmann’s reassignment

A common question we received when Nicklas Grossmann was placed on waivers yesterday by the Calgary Flames was about the salary cap implications of his potential assignment to the American Hockey League. With all of the wonkiness and wackiness regarding the long-term injured reserve, cap relief and remaining cap space, we thought we’d dig into it a bit.

Here’s the gist: the LTIR relief is based upon the cap space when LTIR was originally applicable. Presumably Ladislav Smid’s LTIR declaration is retroactive to the beginning of the season; his injury dates back at least that far and it would have to be retroactive in order for the Flames to get the maximum cap relief. The reason that’s important is that once the LTIR is “active,” the cap space used to calculate it stays put.

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(The above passage, from Article 50.10 of the CBA, indicates LTIR can be retroactive.)

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(This passage from section 50.10 refers to an “interim” period between when a player initially goes on LTIR and when they’re fit to play, which indicates that teams are able to shuffle things underneath that cap relief. It’s the most specific example in the section about whether adjustments can be made.)

On Oct. 12, when the season began, the Flames had $8,266 in cap space. The LTIR relief is defined as the difference between the total cap hit of the player on LTIR ($3.5 million for Smid) and the existing cap space, which would be $3,491,734.

My understanding of the cap space is thus:

  • Because the Flames had the cap space they did when LTIR became active (Oct. 12), they can spend up to $76,491,734 – $3,491,734 over the cap due to Smid’s LTIR relief – without penalty. Anything over that, likely due to bonuses on entry level contracts, would come off the cap next season.
  • Grossmann’s potential demotion doesn’t impact the cap space in any way. This is either because (a) he was on the roster as of Oct. 12 (when LTIR is likely retroactive to) or (b) he was on the roster when LTIR was enacted, after the Kris Versteeg injury and Hunter Shinkaruk recall.

Now, this is just for illustrative purposes, because the cap is actually calculated daily and is based on averaged NHL salaries across the 180 days of the “playing season.” Grossmann’s been paid $86,250 through the first 27 days of the playing season and his demotion would create about $488,750 in space from now until the end of the season.

Long story short? Because Grossmann was on the roster when the season began and went down when he went down (after LTIR), the Flames’ overall cap relief and total amount they’re allowed to spend does not change. It’s roughly $76,491,734. As long as they don’t violate the 23-man active roster limit, they can send Grossmann down and recall some other players, and their overall cap space does not change.

  • Crazy Flames

    “Grossmann’s been paid $86,250 through the first 27 days of the playing season”

    This is nearly incomprehensible. Fringe player makes more in a month then 80% of dual income families in a a year. USD to boot. Good on you Grossman

    • supra steve

      I won’t pretend to understand how the CBA calculates cap issues, but Tre is on record as saying signing Grossmann benefited the club’s cap situation. That is what the signing was about, so I’m not sure how it reflects badly on Tre? Playing Grossmann was a mistake, but signing him was not.

      • Crazy Flames

        I’m only saying this because I am assuming there were other serviceable dmen whom could’ve been signed for the same cap number. Why not take a chance on Bartkowski, Cowen, Ehrhoff, Diaz, or I am sure there are many other names out there. Perhaps Tre exhausted the list and Grossman was the best option, never know…

        • supra steve

          I don’t think they wanted someone that would challenge for an NHL spot. They wanted someone who no one would miss when he got sent to the AHL, someone who wouldn’t get in the way of the young guys like Kulak/T-Spoon.

        • cjc

          Two of those guys (Cowen, Ehrhoff) would not play for 575K. Bartkowski and Grossman are basically interchangeable. Diaz would rather go back to Switzerland than have a second stint on the Calgary bench earning close to league minimum. The FA defense crop was terrible, they just needed someone to fill the gap, who`d be happy with a few games.

  • Derzie

    Speculation aside there was no real reason to sign Grossmann. Washed up players are a dime a dozen. It was a favor to a buddy by GG through Brad. Cost us 2 wins. Boneheaded all around.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      Grossman was a sore thumb out there for two of three games, no question there. He even directly caused two that I noticed. However, there is considerable chance we would have lost those games anyways. The one vs the Kings especially.

      Didnt think id ever be the one defending Grossman, but he was just one small part of those two losses.