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