Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the silly season of unrestricted free agency

The National Hockey League has flipped over to 2019-20 and, as part of it, it’s time to enjoy the absolute silliness that is the annual unrestricted free agent frenzy. The Calgary Flames won’t be huge participants in free agency due to their cap situation, but they’re still going to make some moves after free agency officially opens at 10 a.m. MT.


Right now, the Flames have 34 players under contract and another seven restricted free agents under team control. That means that functionally 40 of their 50 contract spots are spoken for – Spencer Foo won’t be signed, so he won’t count as part of that limit.

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  • Signed [4]: Jon Gillies, Artyom Zagidulin, Tyler Parsons, Nick Schneider
  • RFAs [1]: David Rittich


  • Signed [11]: Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Michael Stone, Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, Carl-Johan Lerby, Andrew Nielsen, Alexander Yelesin
  • RFAs [1]: Rinat Valiev


  • Signed [19]: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, James Neal, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Michael Frolik, Derek Ryan, Mark Jankowski, Austin Czarnik, Dillon Dube, Alan Quine, Luke Philp, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Glenn Gawdin, Matthew Phillips, Buddy Robinson
  • RFAs [5]: Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Sam Bennett, Spencer Foo*, Ryan Lomberg [Foo has signed in the KHL, but the Flames retain his rights.]

Cap space

Focusing only on players who are contractually considered locks to be on the NHL roster, the Flames have $16.1 million in cap space for the 2019-20 season. That cap space has to cover new deals for Tkachuk, Mangiapane, Bennett, Rittich, a second goalie, and an extra defenseman and two extra forwards.

In short, it’ll be challenging.


Many sources are reporting that Flames and Cam Talbot have agreed to a contract.

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Beyond the Talbot signing, the big moves for the Flames could be potential trades. Given their cap situation, they need to open up some space. Elliotte Friedman linked Frolik to the New Jersey Devils recently, while Pierre LeBrun noted that the Montreal Canadiens checked in on TJ Brodie’s availability and price.

In terms of big signings: don’t expect many. Even if the Flames can move some cap space around, they simply don’t have spots on their roster for big money players and need the cap space to fill out the rest of their 2019-20 roster.

We’ll be down at the Saddledome all day waiting for news, so stay tuned to the site and our social media channels for updates.

  • Somebody over 4 million per goes away today. That is the facts in a low cap world. Also, the prospect of a big jump in league revenues in two years will influence term for Chucky and the boys. Watch for 3 by 8 million all day to a bunch of guys including WW’s love child.

    • The Beej

      As mentioned in the article Cap Friendly and Puck Pedia etc are including players like Quine Gillies etc against the cap… players that might not factor into the opening day roster.

      • freethe flames

        At the moment Gilles has to be included as he is the only goalie with NHL experience signed. With the exception of Quine I’m not sure the Flames will find better value to their cap space than Dube, Valimaki, Kylington; signing anyone from the NHL will reduce their cap space even more.

        • The Beej

          Thats a good point but with 8 they could probably send Valimaki down. Once two goalies are signed Gillies gets waived so scratch him off etc. You dont need to count Gillies and all waiver elligibles against the cap because all that matters is what it will be on opening night. No rule thats says you have to carry 23 players.

          You are right about these guys like Quine potentially being part of the solution though as they have the smallest cap hits.

          • freethe flames

            Gilles and Valimaki only make @https://flamesnation.ca/2019/07/01/welcome-to-the-silly-season-of-unrestricted-free-agency/?replytocom=1149941#respond1.6 combined. Kylington even less. Talbot based upon the rumour is $2m than Gilles.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      It’s a joke. Talbot did nothing last year to warrant such money. I am not opposed to Talbot signing here but not for that price. He should be here on a “show me” deal, not a $2.75M “snow me” deal. Reeks of an overpay the same way the signings of Frolik and Stone did.

      • moore_tweets

        I still don’t think Frolik was at all an overpay. Look around the league, he has great numbers for a 4mil guy. Just my opinion. But…..I agree with 2.75 being too much Talbot. Hopefully he earns it.

  • Budgie

    The only priority is to find a way to shed the team of Neal’s absurd 5.75 million for the next 4 yrs. See what can happen with over-priced UFA signings, they are too risky and far too expensive.
    Smith to Edmonton and Talbot to Calgary is interesting, adds a bit of spice to the mix, Rittich needs a contract asap.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      The great Canadian way has always been about second chances. No matter how much you muff up something in this country, you always get at least a second chance to do right. Neal gets that second chance this fall.

  • Trevy

    All we can hope for today is for Tre to shed some salary. Brodie, Frolik, Stone and fingers crossed, Neal are only solutions. If not get traded, then we basically are in cap hell with Talbot as our only “improvement” this season along with losing Hathaway

    • everton fc

      BT’s UFA record has me skeptical now, when it comes to Talbot. Maybe the rumour doesn’t materialize, as players are already signing. But to pay him $2.75mill… That’s another potential millstone, even if it’s two years (of course, it’s not half as bad – literally – as Koskinen’s deal, up north).

  • Trevy

    I know everyone is freaked out about signing Talbot for $2.75, but out of all the available goaltenders that were out there, does anyone think that any of them would of taken less at a 1 yr term? I’m sure Tre kicked the tires and all of them. It’s in his DNA to be thorough. Maybe this is the best we can do, which is not bad if he can regain his confidence. Smith’s signing is just as bad if not worse! Not the end of the world people

    • withachance

      This. Posters dont seem to understand how contracts are signed in the NHL. May be nice to think all contracts are signed based on how a player is going to perform in the future, but their previous resume is a huge factor. Talbot backstopped a bad Oilers team deep in the playoffs a couple of years ago, then regressed as their defence got worse.

      It’s a one year contract, signed to backup dollar value (lets face it – 2.5M is the new 1.5M in todays cap world). If you look at it, the Flames got younger and cheaper at the backup spot today.

  • MDG1600

    Flames have 8 defencemen with NHL experience – not sure why Ryan thinks they need to spend valuable cap $ on signing another defenceman. Tre will need every last cent to sign Tkachuk and Rittich. Of course this all changes if the trade Brodie but so far that hasn’t happened.

  • MDG1600

    The real problem here folks is that we aren’t talking about all the great prospects from Stockton that can step in to play for Calgary this year. All the draft picks Tre has traded away is starting to manifest itself. Of course this wouldn’t be such a problem if we hadn’t signed Neal and had some cap space.

    • freethe flames

      A bunch made the leap last year. (Andersson, Kylington, Valimaki, Mangiapane, Dube) The year before Janko, Hathaway and Rittich; all from the Heat. Yes this year looks a little barren but that happens on ever team. Let’s also remember the odds of a draft pick making the NHL: Top 10 pick, 87%, 11-20 @65%, 21-30 @47% and second rounders closer to 17%, that’s based on data from 2010-2016. Let’s see how the current crop look this year, someone may surprise.

    • freethe flames

      Speaking of Vessy and his 35 points last year and his contract at $2,275m that’s about what Bennett should be paid; maybe a little more because of the cap increase but not lots more.

  • Jobu

    Not only are the leftover UFAs going to be cheap but think of all the buyouts that are happening too. Just adding to the pool of castoffs looking for a home at any cost.

    This would have been a prime offseason to take advantage of some cap space.

    The majority of GMs across the league must be kicking themselves.

  • everton fc

    I just read Aho’s been offered 7.5mill with term, and his camp countered w/9.5mill, with term. Crazy price-tags being discussed, today. I believe teams will make very poor decisions today. We need not be one of them, though it also makes me wonder just how high Tkachuk and his dad will drive the price, here.

    Jets losing Trouba and, so it seems, Myers moving to the Canucks, they will need some cheap, reliable defencemen. (Clearing cap space for Laine, I suppose…). I wonder if the Jets have asked the Flames about Hamonic?

  • Gus Fring

    We are truly handcuffed at the moment Hathaway got 4 years at 1.5 from the Pens??? I guess that’s not bad if we had the cap space to re sign him? We need to add size and mix up the bottom 6 not sure at this point if we can even do that? A lot of teams around us are getting better! And we are sitting here with the same squad that failed miserably in the playoffs. A little unsettling if you ask me.

  • Derzie

    On Frenzy Day, there’s getting drawn in and throwing big dollars at guys that don’t have anything left. There are also a lot of valuable pieces that shrewd GMs pick up to make their team better.

    Here’s our day so far:
    – Reduced cap at goalie. No improvement of quality, which is a top need for the team (Talbot for Smith)
    – Players we can use that we missed:
    – McElhinney
    – Chiasson
    – Nyquist
    – Zuccarello
    – Hathaway
    – Bobrovksy (if we are serious about winning a cup)
    – Connor Brown

    There are still some players out there. Let’s hope we land something to make the team better
    – Tkachuk
    – Rittich
    – Kadri
    – Dzingel
    – Ferland
    – Zucker
    – Marner (if we are all in on a new/different direction to the cup)