The Calgary Flames made a major move on day two of the 2018 NHL Draft, sending Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and top prospect Adam Fox to Carolina in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.
It’s a big move that begins the most tumultuous time of year: free agency.
How does the salary cap look?
The cap for 2017-18 is $79.5 million. The Flames have the following players locked into NHL jobs right now:
- G Mike Smith – $4.25 million
- D Mark Giordano – $6.75 million
- D TJ Brodie – $4.65 million
- D Travis Hamonic – $3.57 million
- D Michael Stone – $3.5 million
- LW Johnny Gaudreau – $6.75 million
- C Sean Monahan – $6.375 million
- C Mikael Backlund – $5.35 million
- RW Troy Brouwer – $4.5 million
- RW Michael Frolik – $4.3 million
- LW Sam Bennett – $1.95 million
- LW Curtis Lazar – $950,000
- LW Matthew Tkachuk – $925,000
Adding in the two buyouts that are still on the cap (Lance Bouma and Ryan Murphy), the Flames have $55 million committed to 13 players – one goaltender, four defensemen and eight forwards.
What about restricted free agents?
Qualifying offers are due at 3 p.m. MT on Monday to any restricted free agents that the Flames intend to retain. The Flames have several potential RFAs in their system.
Players with “[A]” next to their name have arbitration rights.
- Goaltenders Jon Gillies [A] and David Rittich
- Defensemen Noah Hanifin and Brett Kulak [A]
- Forwards Elias Lindholm [A], Nick Shore [A], Mark Jankowski [A], Garnet Hathaway [A], Hunter Shinkaruk, Austin Carroll [A], Morgan Klimchuk, Hunter Smith, Daniel Pribyl and Emile Poirier
(Note: Pribyl has signed a contract with HC Sparta Praha for next season, but the Flames might qualify him to retain his North American rights.)
Matt Cane has forecasted the expected cap hits for pending free agents based on a model he built. For key Flames RFAs, the expected cap hits look like this:
- Lindholm: $4.978 million
- Hanifin: $2.336 million
- Jankowski: $1.31 million
- Hathaway: $1.055 million
- Shore: $1.003 million
- Kulak: $820,000
- Rittich: $816,000
Presuming that any modelling errors balance out, plugging these players into the Flames produces a cap hit of around $67.3 million for 20 players. That would leave them with approximately $12.17 million to (a) fill three depth roster spots and/or (b) upgrade their roster via trade or free agency.
For what it’s worth, all indications we’ve been given are that Flames management is sitting down with Lindholm’s camp early this week to hash out a deal.
What about unrestricted free agency?
The Flames have 11 pending unrestricted free agents. While it’s unlikely that many of them will be brought back, due to the seeming appetite within the organization for youth and some fresh faces, we can categorize the Flames UFAs into two broad categories.
Won’t be back: Jaromir Jagr has signed a contract with the club he owns, HC Rytiri Kladno, for the upcoming season. We’ve also been informed that Matt Stajan won’t be offered a contract by the Flames, so he’s off to test the open market.
Probably won’t be back: Also on expiring contracts are Cody Goloubef, Kris Versteeg, Marek Hrivik, Tyler Wotherspoon, Tanner Glass, Chris Stewart, Matt Bartkowski, Dalton Prout and Luke Gazdic. Aside from perhaps Hrivik, who was decent before getting injured, it seems unlikely that there’s a fit for these players within the Flames organization.
Sum it up
Expect the Flames to be busy in free agency. They have a big chunk of cap space available to upgrade their roster and likely still have an appetite to add some scoring. But even in the absence of that, the turnover within their minor pro and depth ranks suggests that they’ll need to be active so they can fill out Stockton’s roster.
In other words, expect a newsworthy next couple of weeks.
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