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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

NHL salary cap set for $75 million for 2017-18 season

With Vegas beginning to assemble its team, and more trades sure to be on their way following that – not to mention free agency a couple of weeks away as well – teams needed to know what the salary cap would be set at next season.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the cap has been set for $75 million.

We’ve talked about how the salary cap will affect the Flames before, but now that we have a concrete number (and we know who the projected starting goalie is to be, plus how much he costs), let’s revisit.

Just over $55 million committed

The Flames are currently committed to nine forwards, four defencemen, and one goalie. They still have five forward spots, three defencemen spots, and one goalie spot to fill.

Forwards

  • Johnny Gaudreau ($6.75 million)
  • Sean Monahan ($6.375 million)
  • Troy Brouwer ($4.5 million)
  • Michael Frolik ($4.3 million)
  • Mikael Backlund ($3.575 million)
  • Matt Stajan ($3.125 million)
  • Lance Bouma ($2.2 million)
  • Matthew Tkachuk ($925,000)
    • pending bonuses, which, if all reached, would see a cap hit of $1.775 million
  • Freddie Hamilton ($612,500)

Defencemen

  • Mark Giordano ($6.75 million)
  • Dougie Hamilton ($5.75 million)
  • T.J. Brodie ($4.65 million)
  • Matt Bartkowski ($612,500)

Goalies

  • Mike Smith ($4.25 million)

The remaining year on Mason Raymond’s buyout – $1.05 million – gives the Flames a current cap hit of $55,425,400. (It bumps up to $56,275,400 if Tkachuk’s potential bonuses are all accounted for.)

This doesn’t take into account the player the Flames will lose to Vegas. This could range from having no effect on their current cap (if a free agent is selected), all the way up to an extra $4.5 million in space (if Brouwer, the most expensive player exposed, is taken).

Just under $20 million to spend

As far as we know right now, the Flames will have approximately $20 million to spend to fill out their roster, depending on who Vegas selects. Let’s just operate under that assumption for now because it’s a nice number.

Forwards

The remaining forward slots can all be filled out by restricted free agents, plus Kris Versteeg. Versteeg we can perhaps peg at a $2-$2.5 million cap hit.

Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland should be the most costly RFAs to be re-signed; I like ballparking them at a combined $5 million, with more of the money going Bennett’s way, both likely on bridge deals. That just leaves Curtis Lazar (who hasn’t shown much of anything) and Alex Chiasson (who has shown he isn’t much himself), so I’m willing to bet they could be had for a combined $2 million as well (probably a little less).

That’s a little under $10 million spent filling out the forward slots, barring a potential free agent signing or trade for another player we haven’t considered yet. If an extra forward slot becomes available, hopefully a prospect – who would come in at under $1 million – would be able to take it.

Defencemen

This leaves plenty of room to sign three defencemen. If a prospect is (hopefully) able to clinch a spot, then he comes in at maybe $1 million or under.

Using really basic rounding, the Flames still have roughly $10 million to work with. They’ve got the cap space available to add a big ticket defenceman to the top four and shore up their bottom pairing.

Goalies

Since Smith – a stopgap – was acquired, I’m operating under the assumption the Flames plan to leave the backup slot open for a prospect or two. Jon Gillies, David Rittich, and Tyler Parsons will make for a crowded professional prospect crease, but the good news is none of them require waivers. If this is, indeed, the route the Flames are taking, then they can rotate their goalies through the NHL, AHL, and ECHL at their whim to ensure everyone gets playing time at the level appropriate for them.

Plus, all three will be cheap.

If the Flames decide to sign a new backup goalie, though, then even if he comes in at, say, $2.5-$3 million – spitballing a bit high here because better safe than sorry – the Flames will still have plenty of cap space left over to acquire another decently sized contract, whether it be top six forward, top four defenceman, or what have you will.

The Flames are in a good place with the $75 million cap. Having a lot of cap space to play with can be a curse, though, so hopefully they’ll use it wisely.

  • Puckhead

    Pick up a #4 Dman and wait to see how the season unfolds in the forward position. There is a good chance that Ferland or Tkachuk will do just fine on the first line. Why waste money, picks or prospects unless you have to.

    • DKramer

      Radulov is looking for a much longer term than 3 years. And it’s been reported he’s looking 7+. So I don’t think he would even consider that offer unfortunately

    • Puckhead

      So you would spend $11.5M on Radulov, Bennett and Ferland? That wouldn’t leave much to sign the rest, plus I expect Tre will want some cap room in case he needs to wheel and deal before the trade deadline

  • Stu Cazz

    I think Treliving not only needs to be aggressive on a 4 D guy but also a highly skilled RW that can play on the 1st line. This will enable the 2nd line to remain intact and Ferly on the 3rd line making it stronger. Potentially you will have 3 scoring lines, a strong D and improved goaltending with Mike Smith.

    • Trevy

      As much as I agree with your philosophy, I can’t help but think Treliving Will go out and acquire another experienced back up. Whether it be resigning Johnson if Arizona passes on him or some other veteran. I believe Smith is a good pick up, but based on his age and not wanting to over work him to chance any injuries, I think he’ll want a back up that can play at least 25-30 games. Having Gillies or Riitch come in to that kind of work load might be a lot to handle for a rookie goalie.

      • sRo

        Please put Gillies as the backup. So what if he’ll have to play 25-30 games? How come every team except the Flames can play rookies? Just look at Murray in Pittsburgh. 2 cups and still a rookie. That seemed to work out fine.

        • Trevy

          Murray didn’t have a season ending injury and had a great first season in the AHL before half way through the second season, was called up and played 13 games for Pitts. Gillies basically had his first full season last year and was good but not great. I don’t know if that warrants an automatic back up to the NHL to play 25-30 games. I want to believe he’ll shine given that opportunity, but it’s risky for his confidence. I guess we’ll see what BT does

  • OKG

    Don’t spend to the cap for the sake of spending to the cap. Keep the core in place (Protected list + Tkachuk/Jankowski/Kulak), bring in a #4 defenseman and a cheap backup goalie. Leave room open to bring in the next malcontent star forward (a la Phil Kessel/Jeff Carter).

  • Just.Visiting

    There’s no need to spend to the cap for the sake of spending to the cap. The GMs have created two fundamental problems for themselves in managing the cap. The first is the tendency to throw money around overly generously in the $3-5.5MM range to players who are not by any means stars, as those dollars count the same as the dollars spent on the stars. To illustrate, Sidney Crosby made less than what we put out on Wideman, Brouwer and Bouma last year. The second is deal frenzy at the free agent trough. Please, someone, steal Brad’s phone, so he can’t engage on July 1st beyond his current players and I hope he has the discipline to avoid the next shiny thing syndrome because the grass truly is not always greener for the UFAs as we prepare for the path to be a serious contender.

    The continued discussion about getting a RW also continues to reinforce to me how short sighted it was not to have tested Tkachuk on the RW last year so that we would know if he was the solution or not. Either Janko or Ferland could backfill on the Mikes line this year, although I’d prefer Ferland with Bennett.

  • Hubcap1

    Please just focus in on making our defence better and deeper. Spend the money and assets on that this season and let the young forwards show what they can do.

      • everton fc

        I’d do this deal, as well. Manson replaces Engelland, in terms of “truculence”. We also need to see what we have in Rittich, Jankowski, Lazar, and perhaps Shinkaruk and Wotherspoon. So maybe you move our first for Manson, somehow get them to take Brouwer (throw in a prospect?)… Jankowski only plays here if Bennett moves to LW (Bennett/Jankowski/Versteeg?) Lazar only plays if we lose Stajan or Chiasson, or if our 4th line is Stajan/Lazar Chiasson (only possible sans Brouwer). Or do they let Versteeg walk and have a third line of Bennett/Jankowski/Lazar (risky?)…

        We stay the course. Give Ferland that spot on RW w/Monahan and Gaudreau. Keep Tkachuk/Backlund/Frolik together. Try our best to dump Brouwer. Move Bouma for a 6th round pick. Give Rittich the backup role behind Smith. Let Gillies and Parsons platoon in the “A”. Trade for Manson Give Kulak and Andersson a chance. Wotherspoon is the #7 (though I bet it’s Bartkowski, unfortunately). Just thinking out loud here.

    • All Ice

      You think you can get Manson for Calgary’s first in this draft and get Vegas to take Brouwer? Where to start, I mean of course with the probable deal the Ducks made to ensure Manson isn’t taken… Then with there is no way Vegas takes that deal anyway

  • jakethesnail

    I think that Tre is leaning toward re-signing Johnson. Yesterday after the trade, he said that the inclusion of Johnson was just a paper transaction (so that Arizona would have a goalie that is unprotected). Seems that implies that the Yotes not interested in keeping Johnson, and/or Tre is.

  • freethe flames

    What is the best way to use our assets? With Dumbah(22) and Manson(25)available to LV would you see if LV would pick and flip them? Who is more likely to help us be more competitive? What would the cost be? First rounder? First rounder+? Or is it better to use the first rounder to try and acquire a forward? Which position has the best options in FA? Which position is the strength of our prospects? All questions that BT needs to answer. The next few days could be interesting?

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I have read that some people feel that the goalie back up position for the flames could be between Rittich, Gillies, and, Parsons. I am a big fan of Parsons but to think the organization would consider Parsons as a back up straight out of the OHL seems like a pipe dream. From what I have seen from this organization, Parsons could have back to back shutouts in the pre-season and still not be considered as a back up.

    I am interested to know if a player has jumped from Junior and by-passed the minors….I am sure it has butI would like to know when was the last time and who.