Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames waive Brett Kulak in advance of arbitration hearing

The Calgary Flames have reportedly placed defenseman Brett Kulak on the waiver wire, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The move comes in advance of Kulak’s arbitration hearing on Monday morning, which will determine the 24-year-old’s next contract.

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The waiving prior to an arbitration hearing is a bit of a rarity, but not unheard of. Essentially, the Flames are likely heading into the potential arbitration hearing arguing that Kulak is a fringe NHLer in an effort to keep his cap hit down. The Kulak side will be arguing that he’s a full-timer and making comparisons to similar players. Showing that Kulak cleared waivers prior to the hearing is primarily an attempt to erode the Kulak camp’s negotiating terrain.

In the event Kulak is claimed, the team claiming him would likely have to jump into a late-notice arbitration hearing (unless it’s Minnesota, who have a hearing with Mathew Dumba at the same time). There’s no definitive CBA rule for this situation, but hearings are originally scheduled so that no team or agent has multiple hearings at the same time.

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It’s unlikely that Kulak will be claimed, though, given that teams have spent the last month shuffling their rosters and acquiring new faces, and probably want to see how those new faces fare before adding even more of them.

  • everton fc

    I hope he clears, but I think it sends a poor message, as well.

    If they’ve decided Stone adds more value than Kulak, I’ll have lost some of the faith in BT and the organization, since they’ve hired Peters.

    • Off the wall

      Relax folks, Treliving is doing his due diligence.
      If a NHL team claims him, they STILL need to proceed with the arbitration hearing. Being that Kulak’s hearing is on Monday, few NHL teams will want to provide a 40 pages of material to the Arbitrator in this window of time.

      So basically, they can claim him before Friday at 10:00am, however it would
      be unlikely. Treliving obviously has his reason for doing this. I don’t think it is so much about another D man taking his place at the moment, it’s more about keeping Kulak’s cap down.

      As Fall mentioned this is for upcoming RFA”s negotiations.
      Treliving is managing the cap to the best of his ability. He’s learned from the past- perhaps we should be happy about that?!

  • Jimmyhaggis

    I don’t like it at all, sure doesn’t send the right message. I hope he gets picked up, gets paid what he’s worth, plays well. I’m sure he doesn’t want to play for Flames now.

  • Neddd

    @First Name Unide…..
    “Karlsson dilemma has put the whole league on hold to deal any defensemen and hence Stone has not been traded yet.”

    Right…….. so what you’re saying is that Michael Stone really is a sought after player but other teams want to wait and see if they can land Karlsson first. Ok…. you go ahead and believe that.

    • withachance

      I think he means Karlsson trade would have a ripple effect on D depth for teams. Ottawa may want to hold off on any Stone trade until after dealing Karlsson. Teams missing out on Karlsson may want to acquire a depth defencemen to push up one of their second pair D, team that does get Karlsson may lose NHL defencemen and need to shore up depth. Unless you’re a GM, you don’t really know anything…

  • Neddd

    @First Name Unide….
    “Kulak could have been included as a piece in a trade package though. He is good enough to be a regular D. Hopefully the Oilers won’t claim him.”

    Hmm, so what you’re saying is that Brad Tre is incompetent because he could actually trade him for something of value, but he chose not to or he’s simply too dumb to see that Kulak has value to other GM’s around the league……

    I’m quite certain that Brad Treliving tried trading him first but no team wanted him. Any time a player is placed on waivers, that’s all you need to know to understand what his market value is (here’s a hint, its zero…..).

    • supra steve

      “so what you’re saying is” you’ve never seen a player clear waivers and then get traded after clearing. I have seen it happen. It’s generally a bit puzzling when it happens, but there are always legitimate reasons.
      Is that happening here? I have no idea.

      • Neddd

        @supra steve
        “you’ve never seen a player clear waivers and then get traded after clearing. I have seen it happen. It’s generally a bit puzzling when it happens, but there are always legitimate reasons.”

        So what you’re saying is that its possible that Kulak will be traded “after” clearing waivers. To answer your question, there are two reasons why this happens. One is the receiving team wants or needs to clear a contract from their 50 man roster. The second is that the receiving team does not want to be restricted to the NHL playing requirement because they want to be able to send the player to the AHL whenever they want (I can’t recall the number but a team claiming a player from waivers must keep that player on their NHL roster for a minimum number of weeks).

        So therefore my point still stands, players that are placed on waivers have zero market value.

    • LannyMac

      Very well put Neddd if a player is placed on waivers it is because the feelers put out have come back negative. Don’t know why your comment is being trashed.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tre going full on small town cheap. What gives? He is splitting hairs over what, a grubby $100K? Looks ugly and smells even worse. Reminds of the cops holding a presser to announce the seizure of $100 million worth of dope while at the same time several smaller dope deals collectively worth much more than $100M routinely happen right under their snouts.

    Maybe Tre is playing a penny pincher here as a warning to both Hanifin and Chucky that both lads are going to be dragged through hell if they dare refuse the offers he makes them.

    • The Beej

      I think so. How high could his salary be?

      He doesnt have any counting stats but still a useful guy you dont want to lose for nothing.

      Then again maybe the flames feel differently after acquiring Hanifin.

      Kylington and Valimaki have mouths to feed too.

      Then again maybe he clears and no big deal.

  • seamax

    Always amazed at how teams throw nickels around like manhole covers when it comes to certain (usually useful) players, and then blow it out the door on the flavour of the week (obviously types like Brouwer and Michael Stone, but also the Austin Czarniks of the world). Maybe his arbitration ask was absurd, but seems unlikely to me that would be the case.

  • Trevy

    If the Kulak camp is asking for an unreasonable number, then I’m ok with this tactic. Unfortunately for Kulak, guys like him are a dime a dozen. Don’t believe he’ll ever be a top 2 pairing

    • Hubcap1

      “Don’t believe he’ll ever be a top 2 pairing”, “guys like him are a dime a dozen”, words that no one here likes to hear. However, they’er much closer to the truth then FN fans realize. Don’t get wrong I like Kulak very much and he’s worlds better than Bartkowski, but he is very much a third pairing guy. He’s 24, 25 in January, and has produced 11 points in 101 games. The waivers are still a risk as you do risk loosing a good asset.

  • LannyMac

    Everyone has touched pretty much every aspect of this surprising move. He is a proven nhl caliber defenceman with upside. I am more inclined to think he will be picked up. Yes Kylington and Valimaki are promising candidates but in no way are proven nhlers. My question is why hasn’t brad dealt away Stone at this pt. Andersson has shown enough to prove he can play in the league. Trade Stone there is enough in the account for the rest of the RFAs

    • Flaming moe

      “Just trade Michael Stone”

      Michael Stones numbers last year 3 goals 7 assists. The year before 2 goals 4 assists.

      Who is trading for a guy who puts up numbers like that… especially at the cost of 3.5 million per year. Not some of Tres greatest work.

      • LannyMac

        Your right Moe and I thought it was a piece of cake what was I thinking. Thx for setting me straight. Listen if I’m Tre and I need some money to sign the remaining RFAs I’m not looking for return on Stone. I dont care what draft pick I get back and I may retain some money on the contract. It’s not about value it is about finding some financial wiggle room. Sarcasm aside I know my formula does not guarantee a dance pertner.

    • Trevy

      How do you know he hasn’t tried? Trades are easier said then done. Maybe the return wasn’t enough or there was no interest. Maybe he’s waiting for other pieces to fall first. Lots of variables in place

  • Neddd

    “I think he means Karlsson trade would have a ripple effect on D depth for teams. Ottawa may want to hold off on any Stone trade until after dealing Karlsson.”

    Well there have been quite a few defencemen traded this summer already, Brooks Orpik is one for example. There are quite a few other as well.

    • Mitchell

      That doesn’t necessarily mean a single thing. Karlsson could still effect the trading of stone, and some of the remaining ufas could as well. Keeping stone as a trade chip until teams are desperate could be a smart move, or tre could have no intention of trading stone at all. Who here knows.