Good news everybody, especially if you’re fans of the Calgary Flames not losing useful players for nothing. Defenseman Brett Kulak, waived yesterday in advance of his upcoming salary arbitration hearing, has cleared the waiver wire. That news is courtesy of everyone’s friend from Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman.
Kulak (CAL) clears
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 20, 2018
Kulak, 24, played 71 games for the Flames last year and spent the entire season in the NHL on a “show me” league minimum $650,000 contract last season. His camp evidently feels that Kulak showed Flames general manager Brad Treliving that he’s (a) a full-time NHL player and (b) no longer somebody who should be paid the league minimum, which is again $650,000 for 2018-19. (It goes up to $700,000 in 2019-20.)
The Flames side likely feels that he’s good, but that they have “a lot of mouths to feed” (to use a Treliving-ism) and that they need to keep cap hits down across the roster to maintain flexibility within the regular season.
As a result, we get a “nobody wants you Brett Kulak” waiver wire gamble in advance of Monday morning’s salary arbitration hearing – probably in an effort to give some teeth to likely arguments that Kulak is still a fringe player who should make around league minimum.
The next step is both sides submitting their arbitration briefs Saturday morning, which will include salary asks from both sides. Based on how the market generally looks for players of Kulak’s ilk, it’s likely that he’s asking for something close to a one-way deal worth $1 million, while the Flames are probably hoping to get him closer to a one-way worth $750,000.