Here’s how the Flames can sign Jaromir Jagr and stay under the cap

It’s hard to go anywhere around town these days without being asked about the possibility of the Calgary Flames signing hockey legend Jaromir Jagr. The fit from the Flames side is pretty obvious: he’s the second-leading scorer in the history of the National Hockey League, he’s a right wing, and he can play with talented players (such as Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, for example).

But given that Sam Bennett has yet to sign a new contract, the big question regarding Jagr’s financial fit in the Flames’ plans lies in how they can cram him under the cap.

The answer lies in two simple words: performance bonuses.

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Let’s just say that Jaromir Jagr would like to make about $3.5 million next season. The Flames have roughly $7.1 million in cap space, but still need to re-sign Bennett and fill three depth roster spots. Cap space is tight and the Flames probably want to keep some wiggle room for injuries and mid-season moves.

Here’s where bonuses factor in.

Jagr’s 45 years of age under the CBA. Because he’s older than 35, he falls under different contractual signing rules that allow him to make performance bonuses as long as he’s signed to a one-year deal. Consequently, he’s signed six consecutive one-year deals with all but one featuring performance bonuses. The logic behind the instrument is pretty sound: what if your team signs an old player and he sucks? Thus, a lot of older players sign deals with low base salaries and performance incentives to hedge their bets. If the player performs well, they get their money and the club breathes a sigh of relief. If they underperform, the team doesn’t take a gigantic kick in the wallet.

Let’s just say the Flames are comfortable paying Jagr around $3.75 million next season. Conceivably the Flames could give Jagr a $1 million base salary and $2.75 million in escalating performance bonuses tied to markers like games played, goals, points or the team’s playoff performance. Teams can go over the salary cap by up to 7.5 per cent of the cap – $5.625 million this season – as long as that overage is all performance bonuses.

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The only players likely to spend significant time on the NHL roster who would qualify for performance bonuses would be Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Jankowski and Spencer Foo. As long as the team structured Jagr’s prospective bonuses so that they, combined with the entry-level bonuses, wouldn’t be more than $5.625 million, they’d probably be fine with spending over the cap this season. (The downside of this approach is that any bonus overage from this season would eat into next year’s cap, so this is why teams don’t usually rely on bonuses to balance the books for a season.)

We’ll have a better sense of Jagr’s financial fit once Bennett, Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon are all signed, but a bonus-heavy deal could be the way for the Flames to have their Jagr and their cap space, too.

  • Mr. J

    Is anyone else wondering and the hell is this team up against the cap? Usually teams that are up against the cap have at least 1-2 star players and an all star goaltender. Yes the defence is pretty good but up against the cap?!?!?!
    Is Bennett thinking the remaining 6 mill in space should be all his?

    • Atomic Clown

      Smith, Brouwer, Stajan and Stone are the bad contracts. Close to $17 million players that should be making no more than $12 million collectively. There’s also $1.7 million in buyouts. Roughly $7 million-ish that could go towards a really good winger

      • TheoForever

        How is Stone a bad contract, on most teams he would #4 dman and he is making 3.5 million, value deal.
        The $4.25 for starting goaltender is normal as well.

        • Mr. J


          How is stone a 4 dman? Explain this to us.

          4 million for a guy who is -44 in his last 4 seasons with barely any points. So he can’t defend and doesn’t put up points. Ok good call, sign him for 4 million then. Treburke logic.

          • Mr. J

            “Everyone in the NHL says stone is a #4 d man… Let me guess that’s the same “everyone” that’s says mcdavid is not as good as Gaudreau LOL

            Someone is pulling your leg Theo

          • TheoForever

            Everyone in NHL says Stone is #4. Stone is a plus player in Calgary playing #4 position and at 3×3.5$ million a good value, easily better and cheaper than Russell(4×4 million per).
            Playing for horrific Arizona team lowered his +/-, you should understand that as for example 2 time Stanley Cup winner Schultz, was AHL replacement level while playing for truly horrific and pathetic Oiler team.
            It is sad how many careers Coilers have ruined, that dumpster should have bee relegated to ECHL, soccer style.
            First you destroy the draft by tanking, then you ruin 2nd contracts, by giving 6×6 to young players that never live up to those. Then you finish off the contracts by giving 8×8.5$ million to a kid with one good season riding the cocktails of McDonkey.
            Thanks a lot coilers, we are going to have a lockout because of Chia and trinity of suck.

    • TheoForever

      …and the troll is back….We do have star players, Johnny, Monney and 3 top dmen everyone of them would be your best defender. The bad contracts Stajan/Brouwer. The team is not against the cap, there is 18 teams with less cap space.
      Bennett, Kulak, Spoon need to be signed and it is over 7 million, and Flames want some cap room, but don’t let the facts hit you………..

      • Mr. J

        I am talking about real superstars. Toews, Crosby, getzlaf, Kane, Draisaitl, Karlsson, mcdavid etc

        Not Gaudreau, mony, nuge, ebs stars. That is a different level. Teams that have real superstars and a real number goalie do not carry a losing streak in other buildings for almost 15 years( jan 19, 2004 to be exact). Also if Gaudreau and mony are supposed to be the super star leaders then how can they allow a sweep by the oilers and the ducks last year. Some leadership Gaudreau exemplifies- holds out on his team and missed training camp so he can get his money… 12 months later goes on the record and says he can’t wait to play in philly one day. Something you would never hear a superstar say especially the names I mentioned in my first paragraph.

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          Draisaitl? Buwahaha. How is he any more of a star than Gaudreau? Oh right, he put up one season with comparable numbers to Gaudreau. To be clear; EDM has one elite player and guys paid like they are elite.

          • Mr. J

            Then you obviously never watched Draisaitl last year, especially in the playoffs when teams put all there focus on shutting down mcdavid, Drai was the who stepped up and put up super star numbers.

          • Mr. J


            Johnny is outplaying mcdavid ????
            Time to take your meds lol

            Outplaying mcdavid ???? Lol that little guy that doesn’t go in corners and hasn’t beat a guy 1 on 1 since his rookie year!!!! Ohhhhhh kayyyyyyy

          • Mr. J

            Mcdavid never got an even strength assist? That’s all you got left.

            Connor mcdavid 2017 playoff stats:
            5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points

            Johnny Gaudreau 2017 playoff stats:
            0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

            This is getting too easy. You keep setting them up… I’ll keep knockin em down.

          • TheoForever

            Britney had 2 high scoring games in the playoffs, invisible in a few too, shades of Gagner,
            How come mickyD has 0 even strength points in the playoffs? He has so far been completely outplayed by little Johnny. Perhaps, mickyD is too soft to lead a team in the playoffs.
            Good thing Talbot stood on this head, because by stats oilers were outplayed by Sharks and Ducks.

          • TheoForever

            McDonkey never even got a lousy assist in the playoffs at even strength.
            That’s worse than RNH and Eberle, perhaps you traded the wrong guy, coiler bad.

          • TheoForever

            Yeah keep dreaming how well you are doing, because you are getting your ass kicked at every turn: JG 15GP – 11pts, 0.73pts per game
            CM 13GP – 9pts, 0.69 pts per game
            And guess what mickyD still has no even strength points!!!!!!!!
            that’s pretty sad……..

        • TheoForever

          You said stars originally, now you create a new category and mysteriously add drysaddle there.
          yeah, Britney a real superstar after riding cocktails of McDonkey for a year.
          One good season and Chia overpays, next year Oilers will lose bunch of players because of the cap, and since you have virtually 0 prospect of value outside the possible bust in Pulju, you will be screwed big time.
          The Johnny philly comment means nothing and you were already told that multiple times.
          Flames swept your asses multiple times nobody made a big deal out of it.
          You are pretty upbeat for a guy whose team is about to burst its bubble, Oiler regression in about a month.

          • Mr. J

            Oilers are going to pound the Flames again this year. Flames will struggle mightily to put the puck in the net no doubt. Only question now is…. Who will be the first scapegoat. Lack or Smith.

            Mcdavid is a man on a mission. Draisaitl and him for the next decade is going to be fun fun fun fun!!! Let the season start already!!!

          • #97TRAIN

            Can’t believe you are actually trying to say Gaudreau outplayed McDavid at anytime during the last year. If you actually watch hockey then you would see that Draisaitl is a legit player.many many games last year where it was Draisaitl pushing the play and not Connor.

          • TheoForever

            Yes, let the season begin, regression for oilers is inevitable, it will be fan to watch everyone wandering what when wrong.
            You and your team should know something about pounding, you have been worn like a hand puppet for the decade of suck………
            On a positive note, you will get a chance at drafting another golden ping pong ball, because with #26th rated defense in NHL, you are going to have draft parties by December.

          • TheoForever

            @ Train, I’m responding to his trolling. He put Drysaddle in superstar category and Johnny in Ebsy category, complete nonsense. What I said was that in the playoffs, Johnny has more pts per game than mickyD, which is true and that CM has no even strength points either. CM is #2 player in the world, but Drysaddle is not in top 20 forwards, he could be one day, but he isn’t right now.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          @Mr. J

          It took you four number one picks-or was it five?-to get a superstar and the coaching graveyard you call a team made the playoffs once in 11 years.

          Stop trolling.

          • madjam

            I would hope the vast majority of Flame fans are not as apparently ignorant as you when to comes to recognizing the young superstars that are emerging in the NHL . If they have already become a superstar even for one year you should expect most will get even better as a natural progression . You , the eternal pessimist , seem to imply they will get worse . Having said so , how could you possibly recognize a superstar even on your own squad ? I doubt that you could in reality . Eichel , Matthews , Laine , McDavid, Draisaitl and even perhaps Pasternak I see only brighter futures for all of them . You should show more class and hockey knowledge if you have some .

          • piscera.infada


            I don’t usually get into these spats, but you generally seem to at least come here with valid hockey comments, so let me point out one objective fact here. The argument originally went “the Flames have no superstars like McDavid or Draisaitl”. I can agree with McDavid. The issue I have here is that the comment is essentially saying “Gaudreau is not a ‘superstar’ like Draisaitl”. Look at their career points per game numbers, their even strength scoring, their best seasons. Everything favours Gaudreau–granted, it’s not a huge gulf, but it exists. So, essentially, the argument is being made that Draisaitl has some intrinsic quality that makes him better than Gaudreau despite evidence to the contrary. Now, before other Oilers’ fans jump down my throat here saying “size”, and “toughness”, and “centre is a more difficult position”, and “playoff points”, I’ll grant you those as facts, but not as facts that hold a ton of water in this conversation as to tangibly place Draisaitl in a (“superstar”) tier above Gaudreau (whom I imagine “only” inhabits a “good player” tier). And before the responses that “they do”, understand that there are reasonable arguments against each one of them as a basis for the hierarchy created.

            The reason I bring this up is because you’re arguing “hockey knowledge” and team bias, while at the same time seemingly rejecting the intellectually honest analysis of the actual argument at hand. Yes, there are many people on this board who reject McDavid’s success out of (what I can only imagine is) pure spite–and I completely disagree with that. I think everyone can agree that McDavid is a true superstar in every sense of the word (verging on, if not already in the “best player in the world” conversation). The “Draisaitl is a superstar, but Gaudreau isn’t” absolutely stinks of moving the goalposts though.

            [As a final digression here, I’m not sure Gaudreau is a “superstar”–whatever that actually means (the efficacy of that term is entirely based on the person using it). I do know he’s a damn good hockey player. I also don’t buy the argument that “‘x’ number of ‘superstars’ is necessary to be a ‘true contender'”–which appears to be the intended reason for this discussion in the first place.]

          • Off the wall

            Nice post on ON BTF… but then again you’re a classy guy.

            I really don’t understand the thrills other fans get by being a total jerk.

            I honestly don’t mind someone adding value to the conversation even if they’re not Flames fans.

            Just keep to the topic and remember you’re a visitor.
            It’s common sense

        • TheoForever

          You called nuge and ebs stars, a 43 point bust and guy traded for Strome in the same sentence as our star players. Absolutely delusional, after that everything you say is meaningless.

          • #97TRAIN

            Nuge had 43 points last year and played primarily the whole season in a shutdown role never being matched up with McDavid or other top players on his team. If nuge gets to play some top minutes he should be closer to 55 -60 points again.

  • Mr. J

    This is the problem with having Impatient Brian Burke at the helm. He will shaft a prospect who has waited his turn to play if Burke thinks a 45yr old HOFamer is considering playing for his team.

          • Mr. J

            Denial has kicked in theo. Vancouver was a horrible team and was no surprise you beat them. Got mercied in the next round and last year i won’t even speak of that embarrassment… how many wins again? 0… I repeat 0 !!! Something to be real proud of lol burke is working his magic on you fans the way he did Vancouver and Toronto… ask them how that worked out. He’s already selfishly depleted all of your draft picks on average players… LET THE SEASON BEGIN BWAHAHAHAHAHA

          • TheoForever

            He won the cup with Ducks, build Vancouver into power house.
            Sharks had all their top players on one leg, you were outplayed, Talbot had to stand on his head.
            We outplayed the Ducks, Eliott sucked and that’s the difference.

          • TheoForever

            It is working great, 4 years of rebuild and we made the playoffs twice, painless really.
            Some teams take 11 years and draft 1st about 4 times, just to make the playoffs once and regress again, like the Oilers.

  • The Doctor

    I couldn’t care less about whether we can do this and stay under the cap. What would be stupid and wrong about signing him is that it would take away a spot from prospects that we have carefully developed as part of the rebuild process. It does not fit with the rebuild concept this organization embraced when we made the key decisions to trade Iggy, Bouwmeester etc. Thus it would be a step backward, not a step forward, for this organization. Please no.

  • Just.Visiting

    Jagr is one of my all time favourites, but I’m in the pass camp. If this were an older team in which this was the one last opportunity we had, I’d try to bring him in.

    That, however, is not the case. This is a young team with a multi-season window that is just opening and viable prospects trying to knock down the door. Bringing in Jagr makes no sense to me if it were to mean that we shut down the door on a prospect potentially earning top nine minutes and building on that experience in the following years.

    That being said, I’d take Jagr over Chiasson the sequel or as an end of year acquisition if it were apparent that we had a real chance to go deep this year.

  • Rexx

    I’d prefer a Poirier feel good story out of camp.
    I feel a signing of Jagr would signal that the Flames “missed out” or don’t want to give up the assets for a true #1 RW.

    If this truly is our “window”, let’s cut this aging vet nonsense and figure out what exactly we have in the pipeline by giving the kids a chance to succeed if they earn it. If they don’t, welp, I’d be fine with dangling them as trade bait.

    Also [email protected] being considered a Super Star and mentioning him in the same sentence as: Toews, Crosby, Getzlaf, Kane and Karlsson. He’s only mentioned in the same breath as McDavid because of all the points he managed to chisel enroute to his 8.5mill mind boggling contract.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Man, I don’t know about signing Jagr, but if you’re talking about a cup window opening in one breath and giving “chances” to players where we don’t have organizational depth in the next…I think there should be a hard cap on; “We should wait and see about half the season in if anyone can cut it” .

      What if none of them do? What’s a bigger risk, betting on someone like Jagr for 30 points or Poirier for 30 points?

      I honestly don’t know, but I’ve come to the conclusion we should sign someone at right wing, or trade.

      I just don’t know if it’s Jagr or someone else like a JVR. But we need another NHLer on the right wing, like, yesterday.

      If it is, in fact, our window, which I think it is.

  • Kevin R

    I wouldn’t be upset if we signed Jagr. But I would look at a line up of Gaudreau/Monahan/Ferland, Janko/Backlund/Frolik,
    Tkachuk/Bennett/Jagr, Versteeg/Stajan/Brouwer Lazar/? alternating in the lineup.

  • Puckhead

    At the end of the day I just don’t think it’s good business to reach the cap before the season begins. I’d feel more comfortable if we had some wiggle room at the trade deadline.

    Also, if Ferland plays on the first line and gets time on the power play, a 50+ point season is not an unreasonable expectation.

  • everton fc

    Wherever Jagr lands… Ferland will score more goals, as our #1 RW.

    Move on, from Jagr. Let’s see what Jankowski, Shinkaruk, Poirier, Hathaway, “Freddie”, Klimchuk, Lomberg and Mangiapane can do for us. Why are we so desperate for Jagr?

    If it were Jagr over Chiasson, last season… I’m on board. And Jagr will get his 35-40 points… But he’s an outsider here. Let’s reward the kids on the farm who prove they belong in the NHL.

  • Styxx

    The question is….does Treliving gamble on hoping a 45 year old star still has his mojo, or does he gamble on one of Lazar/Poirier/Klimchuk/Foo/Shinkaruk emerging to be more than replacement level over the next couple years?

  • Flames8

    So torn on this one. Seeing Jagr in the bottom six would be great. Knowing it helps with injury insurance just in case. And he’s still a solid player that would be better than internal options. But at the same time all the talk about the kids has got me excited and I want to see one of them in the Flames threads this season. Personally I think Lazar will finish the season getting more ice time than he is going to start with.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    Give the kids a chance. If Jagr will take a PTO that would be ideal, but he almost certainly won’t. Our prospects need a chance to prove themselves.

  • HOCKEY83

    Who do you think would be more likely to put up a 50 point season and who do you think would be more likely to have a 20 goal season…Jagr or one of our prospects? I’d have to say neither so why bother with Jagr at all?

    • Off the wall

      My money all $5 worth is on Jagr.

      No one else on the RW roster can make 50 points, and I’m really hoping Ferland does!

      Besides anyone playing 3rd line minutes like Jagr would, makes that plateau a difficult one to obtain..

  • Flames8

    Off topic but seeing a picture today of Smith in his Flames gear no mask today. Guy looks intimidating to say the least. Cannot wait for the season any longer.

  • OYYC

    Rick Dhaliwal‏ @DhaliwalSports 2h2 hours ago
    Svoboda on Jagr future “I am working around the clock and will get something done.”

    Rick Dhaliwal‏ @DhaliwalSports 2h2 hours ago
    Jaromir Jagr agent Petr Svoboda told me “no comment” regarding Calgary rumours about Jagr.
    Reply Retweet

    *posted 10:39 AM – 24 Aug 2017

    • OYYC

      Rick Dhaliwal
      Anchor at NEWS 1130 Sports

      Joined April 2011

      Seems legit. He broke the Andreas Athanasiou Considering KHL Offer