The Flames didn’t spend a ton on bonuses in 2017-18

The 2017-18 season is firmly in the rearview mirror for the Calgary Flames. It’s far enough in their rearview that their salary cap situation, in terms of performance bonuses and such, has become clear.

The good news is they’re in pretty good cap shape, both for this season and the next.

2017-18 performance bonuses

Two Flames players received performance bonuses, but the players were in very different situations when they did so.

Sophomore Matthew Tkachuk received two Schedule A bonuses as part of his entry-level contract worth a combined $425,000 – $212,500 for scoring 20 goals and $212,500 for finishing among the top six Flames forwards in ice time.

The oldest player on the team, Jaromir Jagr, received two bonuses for games played totalling $350,000 – $250,000 for reaching 10 games and another $100,000 for reaching 20 games.

Based on our calculations, the Flames finished the season with approximately $1.538 million in remaining cap space and since their bonuses only total $775,000, they won’t have any bonus overages eating into next year’s cap space. It’s the first time in a few years that no penalties will carry over, as in each of the past two seasons they’ve had fairly big overages – $630,000 in 2016-17 and $660,000 this past season.

2018-19 salary cap outlook

Depending on if the NHLPA uses their full salary escalator or not, the 2018-19 salary cap will be somewhere between $78 and $82 million. For a benchmark, let’s go with $80 million.

Here’s a projected lineup. The players in italics are restricted free agents, with projected cap hits (noted with asterisks) via Matt Cane’s projections. (His average error in 2017 projections was $593,000, so he’s usually pretty close all things considered.)

Goalies Left Defense
Right Defense
Mike Smith
Mark Giordano
Dougie Hamilton
David Rittich
TJ Brodie
Travis Hamonic
TBD Extra D Brett Kulak
Michael Stone
Left Wings
Centres Right Wings
Johnny Gaudreau
Sean Monahan
Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk
Mikael Backlund
Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett
Mark Jankowski
Garnet Hathaway
Curtis Lazar
Nick Shore
Troy Brouwer
TBD Extra F TBD Extra F Buyouts

This projected roster has a cap hit of $67,518,618. That leaves $12,481,382 in remaining cap space to (a) fill the three open roster spots for the extra bodies and/or (b) upgrade some existing positions. In the event the Flames elect to take the plunge and buy out Brouwer’s final two years, that would push their cap space up by $3 million to $15.48 million and leave them four roster spots to fill.

How to spend the remaining space?

The projected roster has eight right-shot players of any stripe, just one right-shot center, and only four guys that have played center reliably at the NHL level. It probably goes without saying that any upgrading Brad Treliving does this offseason will involve improving his scoring depth, but also keeping an eye on providing Bill Peters with more options in terms of centers and handedness.

Beyond that, the Flames could opt to fill their remaining spots by promoting players from Stockton, or they could go via trade or free agency. What should be their priority when looking at their remaining ample cap space? Sound off in the comments or hit us up on Twitter with your suggestions.

    • HAL MacInnis

      I remember a lot of drama when he left Toronto; poor conditioning and lack of desire, or some such thing.

      Other than he shoots the puck well, he’s also played a crazy amount of consecutive games. He’s either very durable or evades all contact on the ice.

    • Justeen Trudope

      Yes they should if they could work a Brodie for kessel trade somehow I think he would fit perfect the flames don’t need anymore guys that are “good in the room” they already have Brouwer. Phat Phill is a guy that can score playing anywhere in the lineup and his cap hit works. If they could get a guy like him and stay out of the free agency overpay for someone not named Tavares that can pile the points up why not.

        • TriPPiNvdUb

          I believe 1.2mill of that is being paid by Toronto, does that effect his cap hit?

          Phil is a beast on the PP, although getting up there in age, he still looks like he is good for 60+ points a season for the foreseeable future

          • Fat Tony

            Even with Toronto Retaining some of his salary, that would make him the highest paid player on the team. And for what? Clearly a point producer and a powerplay guy but he is in every sense a defensive liability and I don’t want him on the team

        • Sterls

          Gaudreau, Monahan, Kessel could be a powerhouse offensive line, and if his cap hit is only 6.8, he is a lot cheaper than Tavares cap wise and fills a massive void, but what does he cost to acquire…

          • The GREAT WW

            If you see what they did with Schultz….just imagine what they could do with Brodie!

            Now that the 3-Pete is off the table; maybe they are ready for a refresh…..


  • WillyWonka

    i think Foo comes to camp ready to take a spot… not top 6, but bottom six. if Tre can get a legit top line RW, that bumps everyone down…
    Gaurdreau / Monohan / Tavares
    Tkachuk / Jankowski / Ferland
    Bennet / Backlund / Frolik
    Brouwer or Glass/ /Shore / Lazar or foo

  • FL?MES

    If they pull up Ras and trade Stone or Brodie Tre will have even more money to play with. If we also assume that they promote a couple prospects (Mangiapane, Foo etc) it could open up some interesting possibilities with the remaining cap space.

    • Vernon30

      That would be the best roster fielded by the Flames since 89-90. The only possible weakness would be in net, as Smith is old, and Hutton, although a great backup, is less proven as a full time starter, if Smithvwent down long term. That’s a small knock though, and I give my left arm to see that roster hit the ‘Done ice on opening night.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      I’m with going after Tavares but I’m not okay with Nash as our pickup. This roster needs a shake up not a tune up. I’m up for trading Bennett and Brodie (and another part if we need to) for a higher end winger like Hoffman. We have guys like Mangiapane or Klimchuk (who could be a good addition beside Backlund) who can slide in for Bennett. As much as I want to see Brouwer bought out, my spider senses say this isn’t going to happen.

  • cberg

    That’s tons of money, especially if they buy out Brouwer and go with prospects to fill the extra spots, which would probably consume an extra ~$3.25mm for 4 players. That might be Anderson, Foo, Mangiapanne and Klimchuk @$775,000. That would result in BT sitting on $12.23 in unused Cap Space and Ferland, Tkachuk and maybe Bennett the only significant signings due in 2019, and Smith’s $4.25mm dropping off (hopefully).

    I can’t see the Flames sitting on that unused space so I’m expecting a couple BIG Trades(preferred) or UFA signings(less desirable but may be good if the right terms and players). Hopefully BT will first try to weaponize the space like others have and try and get some prize players in exchange for taking on more Cap hit. Just off the top of my head that would be a dicey contract plus plum player for less than expected return, e.g. Ryan &Hoffman from Ottawa, Kessel &Sprong from Pittsburg, Perry &Steel from Anaheim, Brown &Toffoli from LAK, Saad &Debrincat from Chicago, Callahan &Raddysh from Tampa, Lucic &Pujujarvi from Edmonton, Spezza &Nichuskin from Dallas, Pominville &ANylander from Buffalo, Mason &Lemieux from Winnipeg, Gudbranson & Virtanen from the Canucks or Ladd &Bellows from the Islanders.

    • Justeen Trudope

      as a fan I would hate to see the flames take on a bad contract I would rather see them over pay on a free agent then take on a horrible long term contract like Lucic

      • BendingCorners

        Except Lucic was signed by PC to a horrible new contract because he was a UFA. I’d avoid he UFA market except for guys to fill in lower down that aren’t in huge demand.

        • Justeen Trudope

          I agree 100% I just would also hate to see them take on another bad contract. Though cap space can be a huge trade asset picking up dead weight just clogs up the system. There already is not a spot for Brouwer on most peoples projected lineups. If acquiring those players means taking on a horrible contract I would much rather see them pay JVR, Neal, or even Vanek.

      • Honkydonk

        Beggars can’t be choosers. If you really want to win you do what it takes to get the assets.

        We sometimes forget winning isn’t always clean. Some dirty work is required and i would take Kessel to get Sprong any day. He’ll both would help the team a lot and if you have the cap space so what? I would take Ryan for Hoffman with $1 million retained on Ryan any day for same reasons. Makes complete sense to me because you ain’t getting those level of talent in FA that’s for sure.

        And who’s to say they don’t end up performing very well? ALA Golfen Knights whole roster?!!

        I would pay a player $8 million for 70 points a year because in our situation odds are slim with our talent

  • Korcan

    Since it kind of fits with this piece, I have played a bit of fantasy manager and have come up with two possibly rosters for next season, depending on whether Tre focuses on upgrading center or rw. Since there has been much speculation over Hamilton being traded to TO I have also considered that possible scenario and what i hope would be coming in return.

    2018/19 roster scenario #1.
    *Hamilton to Toronto for Marner
    *Brodie + Fox to Toronto for Nylander + a late 2018 pick
    *Ferland + Gillies (or Rittich) to Carolina for Lindholm + a 2018 pick
    *Frolik + Rittich (or Gillies) to Washington for Grubauer + a 2018 pick

    Forward lines:
    TKACHUK – MONAHAN  – *Marner or Nylander
    GAUDREAU – JANKOWSKI  – *E. Lindholm
    BENNETT – BACKLUND – Mangiapane
    Klimchuk – SHORE – Brouwer

    Defense pairings:
    GIORDANO – Brodie or Hamilton
    **Valimaki/Kulak – HAMONIC
    Kulak/**Stone – ANDERSSON


    **If Valimaki makes the team, I see him being paired with Hamonic and Stone being traded for a 2019 pick (or rotated in as a very expensive #7).

    2018/19 roster scenario #2.

    *Brouwer traded for a 2018 pick (1/2 of salary retained) or bought out
    *Brodie + Jankowski + Fox to Buffalo for R. O’Rielly (Buf. retains 1.5M of salary) + a 2018 pick   
    *Ferland + Gillies to Carolina for Lindholm + a 2018 pick

    Forward lines:
    GAUDREAU – MONAHAN – *E. Lindholm
    Bennett – *O’RIELLY – TKACHUK
    Mangiapane – BACKLUND – FROLIK 
    Klimchuk – SHORE – Foo

    Defense pairings:
    Kulak/**Valimaki – HAMONIC
    **Stone/Kulak – Andersson


    **If Valimaki makes the team, I see him being paired with Hamonic and Stone being traded for a 2019 pick (or rotated in as a very expensive #7).

      • Korcan

        Personally, I agree with you (though probably not their first), but I recognize Marner is a special talent as well, and Toronto probably values him much like we do Dougie. Seeing the chemistry between him with Tkachuk again for the next 10 years is the only reason I even consider trading Hamilton.

          • Korcan

            I would be all for it if it could be done. To get Marner and still have Hamilton – that would be pretty awesome and would solve many of Calgary’s scoring problems for a very long time. I’m just not convinced Calgary could get Toronto’s leading scorer for a 30+ point scoring 2nd pairing defenseman and a completely unproven prospect (as promising as Fox might be).

        • theartfuldodger

          If we are not asking Kessel to be a leader then there is no issue. Toronto wanted him to be a room guy but he is just a really good hockey player and a little weirdo. If we ask him to just play hockey and put the puck in the net… so be it, we have other leaders.

          • Sterls

            He’s not too bad if Toronto continues to retain 1.2 mil of his contract, even better if we were able to get Pittsburg to eat a some of it too. Offer Brodie, Fox, and Bennett/Mangiapane/Stone. He would fit well on the top line as he is equal parts playmaker/scorer, and gives us the RH shot we need for our PP. Kessel is likely talented enough that he will still be good until the end of that contract.

  • MDG1600

    Thumbs up to the idea buying out Brouwer. Not sure it is helpful to the team chemistry to see the 220 pound guy getting paid $4 mill skate around and collect his paycheck without scoring, hitting or fighting.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I think Pittsburgh is a perfect trading partner but not for Kessel. My offer would be more like Bennett, Brodie, and Fox for Sprong, Hornqvist, and Aston Reese.

    Aston Reese and Fox are a wash. Sprong gives us the offense that Bennett can’t. The trade comes down to Brodie’s potential realized in an offensive Pittsburgh system vs Hornquvist’s badly needed scoring and grit. He has also showed good chemistry with Backlund. Would you do it?

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      Aston-Reese and Fox are not a wash … Fox wins that hands down. However I thing Spring has greater upside than Bennett. So the question is really if you would trade Brodie for Hornqvist. I’m not sure … Hornqvist is 31 and signed for 5 more years at 5.4MM. Sounds like it could be an anchor. Top it off it has a no trade clause which I believe means he has to be protected in the Seattle expansion draft. Not sure we want more of those right now. So if you leave off Brodie for Hornqvist I’d say yes.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Fox may have a better upside than Aston Reese but not if he is not guaranteed to sign. I don’t love Hornquvist’s age especially since he plays a rugged Peter Forsberg type game but he would be a great add for the cost of a cheaper and younger Brodie. It is hard to find a player without any warts.

      • cberg

        As much as Bennett has struggled I think he would be one of Calgary’s better players if the team adopts a style similar to Vegas. He already plays an aggressive, forechecking indoor face game and has speed to burn and offensive talents to do something with the puck once he turns it over. I would be keeping Bennett.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        The same reason why any team trades an A prospect….fit. Pittsburgh is going to have to rebuild eventually without touching its untouchables. There must be a reason why Sprong did not get called up before other Wilkes Barrie prospects.

  • Cheeky

    Gotta be careful with some of these wishful proposals being thrown out here. Ensure there is money left when Tkachuk’s contract is up and IF Bennett somehow becomes what we hope him to become and Ferland puts up another 20 plus goals, we will be paying…also if we were to make some of the trades mentioned on here for other entry level guys (Marner, Nylander, Lindholm, etc) we need to keep money aside for them too. But whatever can make us better and push us into a contender, let’s do it…

  • ComeOn

    You know what i’m hoping for next year….Flamesnation to adopt a reasonable table format that’s legible on a mobile device. And I know I’m not the only person.

  • freethe flames

    Here’s my squad with some explanations. First I’m trying to do this within the current $75m cap. So my first my first move is to but Brouwer out for a savings of $3m and then use that cap space to sign both Janko and Kulak for combined cap hit of $3m. My cap space remains @$12.5m.

    First trade: TJ, Fox to NYR for Zibanejad and the NYR 2nd rounder(I would prefer one of their late 1st rounders) net cost in regards to the Flames an additional 700,000, My first line now looks like Johnny/Monny/Zibanejad.(The reason I think this works for NY is because their D looks like crap and they are rumored to really like Fox)

    My second trade: Bennett and Lazar to Carolina for Lindholm and Zykov. This deal may need to sweetened by the Flames and could well be the draft pick acquired from NY). By the time Lndholm and Zykov are signed I see an additional cap hit of @3m leaving me with @8.8m. This deal now fills out my second line: Tkachuk/Janko/Lindholm. (Why this works for Carolina- cap space; the new owner wants to run this team on the cheap.)

    This move allows me to deal with my third line which would now look like Ferland/Backs/Frolik. A checking line that can still produce enough offense. For the Bennett fans I know this hurts but you have to give something to get something.

    Third trade: Stone to Toronto for Leivo and a draft pick or to Ottawa for a draft pick. Either way we get cap relief. I actually would try to do this trade before the Carolina deal just to have more alternatives with Carolina.

    I now enter FA with cap space to fill the remaining holes in this lineup. But I have plenty of cap space. I now need to add another center or two to fill my 4th line and create depth in the organization: I suspect it would be D Ryan at about $2m. I would also consider Riley Nash as an extra center around the same amount. Neither of these deals would be long term deals(2/3 years max)

    Next area of concern: with the money saved by trading Stone I look to sign 2 FA to fill the D spots left. Andersson has replaced Stone. So I look to spend below $4m to fix the hole left by moving Kulak to Brodie’s old spot. Names to consider are Folin, Kempny, Pateryn, Ian Cole or DeHaan.

    This still leave me with enough cash to examine the goalie position. I’m not convinced that either Rittich or Gilles is the right back up but acquiring a back up via trade or FA means you need to move one of these guys or create a real log jam in net. Right now I think Rittich gets you more in a package than does Gilles an so I try to add Rittich in a deal. My preference would be Bernier but I suspect he will want both term and money so I would be okay with Hutton fighting it out with Gilles for the back up spot.

    So in the end my team looks like the following:
    Mangiapane or Zykov/Ryan/Leivo or Nash
    Cole or Kulak/Hammonic
    Cole or Kulak/Andersson
    Smith with either Hutton or Gilles as a back up.
    I also think I have cap space.

    • cberg

      Seems like a very reasonable team and good use of the available Cap. As for the trades, they seem ok but personally I’d prefer zucczrello vs zibanejad but not sure that is reasonable. Lindholm seems like it should be a good move, but I’d defer to Peters as he would know for sure. I’m torn on Bennett because if we adopt a style more in tune with Vegas I think Bennett will flourish as he already plays that way.

      • freethe flames

        I like Zibby a bit more than Zucc for our needs. also the fact that he is signed for term is appealing to me. There are other guys who I would pursue if a trade with the NRY did not happen. Absolutely I would defer to BP on Lindhilm; I’m just speculating that they would be a good fit. Bennett is tough one for me as well but I believe it may be time to move on. Early in the season I was comparing him to the Backlund progression; slow but steady; but now I’m less sure of him. I like the idea of keeping some cap space just in case a RFA I like becomes a UFA b/c of other teams cap issues. I still believe some guys will become UFA’s and cap space and some additional draft picks might be meaningful. Also of course for deals in the far far away trade deadline. Personally I like the idea of trying to fix the issues now rather than at the trade deadline. Try and meet your big needs via trade not UFA but fix your minor issues via short term FA.

        • Korcan

          I like Zibanejad, but I can’t see NYR trading their no.1, right shot center who is also young and big and is just now coming into his own. I think he is one of the pieces they plan to build around for the future. I’ve looked but haven’t found anything to indicate he is being made available.

          If Calgary did get him I think he would be a better option at center and move Janko to wing (but then you again run into the problem of too many left shooting wingers).

          • freethe flames

            Like your two proposed teams this is all based upon speculation. Is there any proof that RoR is on the block? Any proof that Hamilton is on the block from the Flames and Marner with the Leafs? My speculation is simply that; but rational that NY needs an upgrade on is sound and TJ IMO is worth a 45-55 point center; hence Zibby. Some reporter out of NY hinted that the Rangers liked Fox so I put it together. Like you trying to play GM based upon the rumors that are out there. None of use have any real idea what the market is for anyone and we won’t until a deal is done. But until something is done it’s better than reading about Bart or Stajan. Have a great one; hopefully something happens soon and the needs are addressed.

        • Redleader

          We need to Keep Bennett, I’m still convinced his gonna be a decent player and he was knocking guys around 30 lbs bigger than him all year ,Kid has no fear , came into the league to early , but he’s speed was starting to push defence back , I like how Bennett stands up to Getzlaf etc . And they know that there I’m for a fight if they tangle with him .

  • The GREAT WW

    Great news; “the Flames didn’t spend a ton on bonuses”…..

    More great news; the Flames saved money in their travel budget by not making the playoffs!!!!!!!!!!!