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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames can’t send any of their defensemen to the AHL

The Calgary Flames are in a unique situation. They’re carrying nine defensemen on their big league roster and, due to CBA restrictions, cannot send any of them to the minors.

The general logic behind the roster restrictions within the CBA is to ensure that National Hockey League players don’t get dumped into the American Hockey League for the minor league stretch drive. If you’re in the NHL for much of the season, there are rules designed to keep you there following the trade deadline.

Under section 13.12(j) of the CBA, NHL players cannot be sent to minors after the trade deadline except:

  • players who were recalled using one of the four remaining regular recalls or under an emergency recall
  • players who consent to a conditioning stint after a long-term injury
  • players who were injured but were on active roster for less than 25% of the season can be demoted with their consent

(Curtis Lazar was recalled using a regular recall, so the Flames were allowed to send him back to the minors.)

Four defenders have been on the Flames’ active roster since opening night: Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic. Oscar Fantenberg was on the Kings’ opening roster and stuck around until his trade to Calgary, so he’s in the same boat. None of these five can be sent down.

Dalton Prout and Michael Stone have also been on the Flames’ roster all season, though Prout had a brief conditioning stint to Stockton while Stone was on the injury reserve list for awhile and just returned from a conditioning stint of his own. Stone was also active for longer than 25% of the regular season before his injury, so he was only eligible to go to the AHL on a conditioning stint. Neither of them can be sent down.

Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington weren’t on the opening night roster, but Andersson’s been in the NHL since two days into the season and Kylington since the end of November, so they’re both considered full-timers now. While both are waiver exempt, neither was sent to the AHL on deadline day to maintain their AHL eligibility so they cannot be sent down.

In terms of the mechanics of things: the Flames carried seven defensemen for the majority of the season and then acquired an eighth (Fantenberg) prior to the deadline. Since Stone was activated from the injury reserve list after the trade deadline, he couldn’t be sent down but also didn’t count as a recall – his activation was basically a free extra roster spot. But since they didn’t send down one of the young blueliners with waiver exemption, they are required to keep all nine with the team through the end of the season.

And things will get even more jam-packed on the backend when Juuso Valimaki inevitably gets summoned from Stockton.

  • Fat Tony

    As far as defensive depth goes I think we have a strong group with a lot of options heading into the Playoffs. I am confident that whatever the situation, BP will find a combination that works against our opponent.

  • The GREAT WW

    Strange situation.
    It looks like a D was going to get traded for Zuker after we picked up Fantenberg but the deal fell through.
    The only thing that makes sense…..

    WW

        • BlueMoonNigel

          That’s what I heard too, but that deal didn’t make a lot of sense for the Wild if the plan there is rebuild, which is likely if they fail to make the playoffs. Frolik is older than Zucker and the Flames’ 1st is a glorified 2nd. Having Frolik for a year in Minnesota. Why?

          Also, I doubt Tre wanted to commit to another big contract like Zucker’s until Tkachuk was signed and the goaltenders for 2019-20 were locked in. Then there is Neal and his hefty deal. Even if he had been scoring at his usual clip, he really doesn’t fit with the direction the Flames appear moving in.

          If there was serious talk for Zucker coming here, I hope that it continues in the offseason. He would plug in nicely here. His salary is manageable once the existing talent is squared away and the length of his contract works with the duration of the contracts for the main characters on the team. Hopefully, the Wild don’t make the playoffs, so Zucker’s price can’t be upped by an amazing playoff performance.

          • Oil consuming Flames

            Frolik only has 1 year left on his deal after this season which would be good for Minnesota if they are looking to rebuild. That takes transition time so you need to retain some NHLer’s, However, if they swapped Zucker for Frolik, after next year, the only veterans they’d have left on the books would be Staal, Parise and Foligno. Since Zucker has 4 years left after this year that would help them that way, while still retaining Frolik who they could still get something for him next year at the deadline. As far as Zucker increasing his contract value, as stated, he’s already locked in for 4 more years at $5.5M.

            It may be, that Frolik is the reason the deal fell through. His NTC allows him to provide a 10 team “No-trade” list. If Minnesota was on that list, no deal.

  • cjc

    So that’s why Kylington is still with us! At least somebody read the CBA cover to cover. I am guessing Kylington wasn’t demoted on deadline day as they still wanted 7 healthy D around. Or as WW said, maybe another trade fell through at the last minute. I guess we’ll never know.

    • Oil consuming Flames

      Stone would have to consent to remain in Stockton. If he says he feels good to go, they have to send him back to Calgary, and I’m sure he’s itching to get back into the NHL line-up

  • SeanCharles

    This is great to have so much defensive depth as defense is so widely valued league wide for trading and having 10 guys available to us will only be an asset for the stretch run and playoffs.

    The real question is who will be a Flame dman next season out of those 10?..

    I think its safe to assume a few things:

    – Gio, Hanifin, Andersson and Valimaki are most definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.
    – Considering Hamonic’s uniqueness within the group and the formidable pairing he creates with Hanifin I think its safe to say he isn’t going anywhere. His role in the community and the fact he wants to stay in Western Canada helps strengthen his case to return.

    That’s 5 guys that for sure will be back, what is the fate of the other 5?

    – I think Fantenberg is a guy Calgary would like to retain as a depth guy but at the moment have too many bodies
    – I think Prout will only be retained if we move out a few bodies and/or is stashed in the AHL
    – Stone is an established top 6 dman so it’ll will be interesting to see what happens because he wasn’t happy being a healthy scratch
    – Kylington is a guy that is ready to play in the NHL and needs to play to progress further
    – Brodie is a top 4 dman and has rebounded nicely but has an expiring contract

    We can’t keep all 10, even if you discount Prout we still probably can’t keep all 9 of them unless we want to keep Valimaki in the AHL next season. To me that seems unlikely.

    • Cfan in Van

      This coming draft will be very Interesting as tre whittles down the D to what he thinks is ideal for the next few years. How old is Fatenburg? He could be very useful if they can get anything for Stone and a decent return for Kylington.

    • I agree with the assumptions. As far as who to let go? So far I like Fatenberg as a cheap, reliable depth guy (what he shows thus far), Prout gone, Stone gone unless you can’t trade which is possible, Brodie should go for a good top 6 winger, Kyl should be retained unless someone gives you an overpay on a forward prospect better than him.

    • Lazarus

      I have to know what Brosie has shown you at any time this year to show you he has bounced back. His scoring pace is less, and his boner moves are more frequent

  • Oil consuming Flames

    We all know how taxing the play-offs are on d-men. This is a problem 15 other play-off teams wish they had. I doubt there is another team that has 10 deep NHL quality d-men. After watching a few reports and reading a few articles about the Leafs, for one example, they’re pretty doom and gloom about who’s gonna fill in for their D depth. The other team’s may have a better top 4, but I don’t think anyone can match the depth, which is nice security for a play-off run.

    Honestly, Gio is the only defensemen, who’s absence the would have a significant impact on the d corps. Maybe Hamonic, but we’ve play’d with out him for wretches this year and someone’s filled in rather well each of those times.