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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames get a second buyout window, but there are restrictions

The National Hockey League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is a document full of loopholes, caveats and awkward sub-clauses. Thanks to Micheal Ferland electing to go to salary arbitration – and the subsequent signing of Ferland to a new contract, avoiding an actual hearing – the Calgary Flames will have a second buyout window available to them.

The window opens up for 48 hours and begins three days after the deal is filed with the Central Registry; based on when the signing was formally announced (falling into Friday in terms of the league’s “business hours”), the window will likely open up on Monday, July 17 at 5 p.m. MT and close on Wednesday, July 19 at the same time.

But before you get too excited, the second buyout window carries with it some unique restrictions that you should know about.

There’s a second window…

Let’s go straight to the CBA for why there’s a window:

The gist: Because this is a player-elected salary arbitration case (as opposed to club-elected), the Flames automatically have the second buyout window available to them. But the second part of this excerpt is where the “fun” begins…

…but there are restrictions

Teams can only buy out players that (a) were on their reserve list as of the last trade deadline and (b) meet a minimum cap hit requirement that’s scaled to the growth of the average salary during the CBA period.

At the beginning of the CBA period, the minimum cap hit was scaled at $2.75 million. But since there’s no central resource listing the growth of the average salary, we turned to the folks over at Cap Friendly to give us the number:

There are nine Flames players with cap hits of $3,209,029 or more (and that were on the team’s reserve list as of the last trade deadline) – [new Flames Travis Hamonic and Mike Smith can’t be bought out]:

  • Johnny Gaudreau ($6,750,000)
  • Mark Giordano ($6,750,000)
  • Sean Monahan ($6,375,000)
  • Dougie Hamilton ($5,750,000)
  • T.J. Brodie ($4,650,400)
  • Troy Brouwer ($4,500,000)
  • Michael Frolik ($4,300,000)
  • Mikael Backlund ($3,575,000)
  • Michael Stone ($3,500,000)

Just putting it out there

We’re not saying that the Flames are going to buy out Brouwer. They’re already paying three players (Lance Bouma, Ryan Murphy and Mason Raymond) just over $1.8 million against the cap to not play for them. It’s not likely that they’ll want to bust out another $1.5 million against the cap to pay a fourth player to not play for them, even if it’s a fourth liner making $4.5 million for another three seasons.

That said, buying out Brouwer would save them $3 million in cap space over each of the next three seasons. If you’re banging the Jaromir Jagr drum, this is probably the only chance to open up cap space to bring him in.

    • kipper2004

      You have to think BT will give Brouwer 1 more year to redeem himself and then assess the next best option, i guess there is a slim chance that Brouwer does something of value (like score a couple big goals here and there) to push the team over the playoff race line and beyond, maybe wishfull thinking but we can dream!

  • The GREAT WW

    It would be nice, but I don’t see the Flames doing anything with Brouwer until after this season.
    That is also when his limited no trade kicks in, so we can trade him with salary retained, which is a much better option than a buy out…..

    WW

    • Baalzamon

      I agree. I could also see them buying him out next summer (I don’t see any reason why anyone would trade for him, even with salary retained) when the buyout cap hit will “only” last four years instead of six.

  • Puckhead

    I have an off-the-topic question about RFA’s. With the winter Olympics approaching, could a player who is in the negotiation process opt instead to play overseas for the season so they could play for their country?

    • supra steve

      Duchene has an active contract, 2 more years at $6 million per. Would you give up 6 million dollars to play in the olympics when you’ve already been there/done that/have the gold medal? I know I wouldn’t.

      • Styxx

        …perhaps you were looking to reply to the above re Draisaitl and Olympics??

        My comment relating to Duchene is …would Tre buy out Brouwer to clear $3M cap space to trade for $6M Duchene? Downside would be he’d likely have to give up Bennett.

  • Parallex

    “If you’re banging the Jaromir Jagr drum, this is probably the only chance to open up cap space to bring him in.”

    Untrue. You could structure the deal with bonus incentives (ala Iggy in Boston) and take it out of the cap hold created by the Raymond buyout (ends after this season).

  • beloch

    Brouwer’s results last season were pretty brutal. You don’t want him on the top line. You don’t want him with the 3M line. You don’t want him dragging Bennett down for another season. You don’t even want him on the fourth line because the Flames have a lot of players who need some fourth line minutes for the sake of their development. So where does Brouwer fit?

    You can try to trade Brouwer but the cost of doing so may be worse than a buy-out. If you really feel his leadership qualities are worth $4.5M/yr you can leave him sitting in the press box or send him to the AHL, but that’s a pretty big waste of cap space. Ultimately, a team that’s “going for it” needs to be cap efficient. Having a lot of buyouts on the books isn’t a great way to do that, but having $4.5M of cap hit in your press box is even worse.

  • Atomic Clown

    Sigh, wishful thinking. We didn’t buy out Wideman, we didn’t buy out Smid, the flames aren’t going to buy out Brouwer. The cap hit is just too large and for too long to not have a player play. We’re going to see him for the next 3 years, probably in a more sheltered role albeit

    • Kevin R

      I agree. Let Brouwer play his way up the lineup, hopefully build some value & then wait for McPhee who in my mind has a horrible forward lineup to be clamouring for some experience bonafide players in Vegas. You can ice a team & write off performance in the name of building with youth, but you also have to put people in the building & leaving the building feeling like Vegas has a semi competitive product on the ice. They don’t have a whole heck of a lot of depth, they too will get injuries. Tre may be able to ship Brouwer & a prospect like Shink or Klimchuk or someone that is getting leapfrogged in Stockton for a 3rd round pick or something. People need to be patient & let this play out next year, I really don’t like this buyout Brouwer drum beating, it’s just bad in so many ways.

  • everton fc

    At this point, unless we can trade him to a team and eat some of his cap hit, we all better be rooting for Brouwer to have a tremendous year. Maybe he was just slow in getting used to GG’s “systems”! 😉

  • Fan the Flames

    If Troy Brouwer doesn’t have a great training camp the Flames could test the waiver wire first to see if somebody would take that contact . Vegas might grab him as there is some history from the Washington days . If nobody takes him bury him in the minors and give the position to somebody that has earned it . I expect Brouwer to come in and try and show people he still has some hockey left in those legs.