For the second season in a row, the Calgary Flames will have a little bit less cap space to use because of performance bonuses from the prior season. According to a report from Cap Friendly – which we’re inclined to believe – the Flames had a bonus overage of $660,000 from the 2016-17 season, which reduces 2017-18’s cap number by the same amount.
As a result of the bonus overage and Mason Raymond’s buyout, the Flames will only have $73.29 million to spend on players this coming season. (They presently have just under $60 million committed, with eight spots left to fill.)
Since Ladislav Smid spent the 2016-17 season on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), the Flames were able to spend above the cap ceiling by roughly the amount Smid made – the idea being that they’re allowed to spend on salary (or salaries) of the players that replaced him.
That said, the LTIR space can only be used on salary, not bonuses. As a result, the Flames were maxed out on the salary cap when the season ended based on salaries and the performance bonuses earned by their entry level players pushed them over the top.
According to Cap Friendly, four Flames players received performance bonuses. Our best guess is those four were Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, Brett Kulak and Garnet Hathaway.
Tkachuk probably ate up most of the performance bonuses. He earned Schedule A bonuses for amassing 35 assists and for leading the team’s forwards in plus/minus. Presuming he was contracted to get the maximum of $212,500 for each Schedule A category, he probably accounts for about $425,000 in bonuses.
Bennett earned one Schedule A bonus for placing in the top six among the team’s forwards in average ice time. (He was sixth, 16 seconds ahead of Kris Versteeg.) Presuming that he, too, received the maximum bonus levels, he counts for another $212,500 in bonuses.
The remaining $22,500 probably went to Kulak and Hathaway for hitting unspecified games played targets. Both players played the most games of the remaining entry level crew – Kulak played 21 games, Hathaway played 26. None of the remaining entry level players really did much aside from playing a handful of games, so if four players hit bonuses two of them almost certainly have to be this pair.