The Lucic trade gives the Flames a tiny bit of cap wiggle room

The Calgary Flames made a trade on Friday afternoon, acquiring Milan Lucic from the Edmonton Oilers in a swap that saw Edmonton retain $750,000 of Lucic’s cap hit for the next four seasons. The trade helps the Flames in their effort to ice a full roster that can fit under the salary cap, but they still have a lot of work to do.

The roster so far…

The Flames have added Cam Talbot (free agency) and Milan Lucic (trade), while subtracting Mike Smith (free agency), Garnet Hathaway (free agency), Oscar Fantenberg (free agency) and James Neal (trade).

Here are the players likely to be locks for the opening night roster:

  • F Johnny Gaudreau – $6.75 million
  • F Sean Monahan – $6.375 million
  • F Mikael Backlund – $5.35 million
  • F Milan Lucic – $5.25 million
  • F Elias Lindholm – $4.85 million
  • F Michael Frolik – $4.3 million
  • F Derek Ryan – $3.125 million
  • F Mark Jankowski – $1.675 million
  • F Austin Czarnik – $1.25 million
  • D Mark Giordano – $6.75 million
  • D Noah Hanifin – $4.95 million
  • D TJ Brodie – $4.65 million
  • D Travis Hamonic – $3.86 million
  • D Michael Stone – $3.5 million
  • D Rasmus Andersson – $755,833
  • G Cam Talbot – $2.75 million
  • Troy Brouwer’s Buyout – $1.5 million

All these established costs – nine forwards, six defensemen and a goalie – add up to $67.64 million. That leaves the Flames with $13.86 million to cover the remaining roster spots – five forwards, a defenseman and a goalie – plus performance bonuses.

Re-upping the RFAs

Of the remaining seven roster spots, it’s safe to say that four will go to a quartet of restricted free agents: goaltender David Rittich and forwards Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Andrew Mangiapane.

How much will they cost? Let’s ballpark Rittich at around $3 million, and using Evolving Wild’s projections, let’s peg Tkachuk at $7 million, Bennett at $2.4 million and Mangiapane at $900,000. Adding those cap guesstimates to the existing deals, that gives the Flames a 20-man roster and a cap hit of $80.94 million.

With an $81.5 million cap ceiling, that gives the Flames $560,000 to fill out the three remaining roster spots, cover in-season injury replacements and performance bonuses. Obviously that won’t work because even the most cost effective probably roster options – Juuso Valimaki ($894,166), Dillon Dube ($778,333) and Alan Quine ($735,000) – would be far too expensive.

Options to create more space

The easiest thing for the Flames to do to create cap space would be to buy out Stone when the second buyout window opens in August (following the resolution of the team’s last arbitration case). A buyout would open up $2.333 million in cap space – giving the team $2.893 million to cover two defensemen, two forwards and bonuses – but it likely wouldn’t be enough. Even using Valimaki, Dube and Quine and adding in Brandon Davidson ($700,000) as the seventh defender, it still wouldn’t be enough space. (They would need another $214,000 to squeeze everybody under the cap, and that would give them absolutely no wiggle room for in-season moves.)

Even if the Flames buy Stone out they need to make another move to free up another $1 million in space (if not a bit more). There are still dominoes left to topple before the end of this off-season.

  • Uranus

    Hard to say what’s going on in BT’s head but let’s hope that this wasn’t a panic move after two botched trades. On the bright side, Neil was all around bad and didn’t bring anything to the table. Lucic, in contrast will hit and get to the net. Puckpedia shows that we won this trade when you compare the player stats but time will tell.

    I’m surprisingly relieved that pretty boy Neil (aka Chicklets) is gone. What a useless, uninspiring, turd.

    • Flaming moe

      You think lucic can play 4 more years at this pace? Lol seriously ? He’s getting slower each year while the young kids get faster. He has no hands as in he can’t pick up a hard pass, he can’t make a pass, he can’t stick handle in tight or with no one around him. He makes 3 big hits a season add in a couple suspensions for guys that don’t want to waste there time figting him and yeah….. you have a guy making $6 million per for doing nothing! He is terrible in the dressing room. He will be in Calgary too once he’s told he’s on the 4th line.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    At the end of day we got tougher, got rid of uninspired player and saved some cash. Everyone agrees both players are way over paid but we got rid of Neil. Sounds like Neil wasn’t a team guy, always traded or let go. Flames won this trade.

    • Flaming moe

      Is this where we talk ourselves into believing the rest of the league is wrong about who won and lost this trade? Lol So growing an inch is worth $6 million per year? And really which guys grew an inch? You really believe a guy that gets 8 mins a night is going to result in Sean Monohan turning into cam Neely? Or Jankowski is going to start running guys? Cmon let’s be realistic here. Lucic is not good in the dressing room that much is known.

      • TheDallyLama

        It’s 5.25 million… I been seeing your sh!tty comments all day, and you keep saying 6 million. That’s a big difference. You’re entitled to your opinion but I don’t have to like it. Guy hasn’t even played one game in red and white and you act like an Oiler troll calling him down. Give it a chance. You don’t know the future so don’t act like you do. 🔥

        • Flaming moe

          No but I have common sense and also there is there is the ability to google his stats. Do you not remember the last 3 years everyone on here laughing there asses off at lucic and that contract? He had 24 points and then 14 points and only missed 3 games in those 2 seasons. That’s not a slump. That’s trending towards retirement or Europe. His prime was from 2007-2011. Its 2019 and Tre thinks this is his prime? And with 4 years left and no possible chance at a buyout!!! And he takes a spot away from a young talented core player in the expansion draft. Cause the game is getting slower and tougher right tre? … 🤥🙄

          • TheDallyLama

            Ya but that was in a non hospitable environment.. maybe we can provide him with a better environment to succeed in… nobodies expecting the lucic from 07-11 which I happen to agree with… and I realize his stats and I realize what the league is Saying, no they ain’t pretty.. but in a post I wrote earlier, I explained would u rather have lucic bringing something tangible in a physical tough deterrent type element or would u rather us have kept the not so real deal and got another year of 6 goals for his 5.75 cap hit? We weren’t getting out from Neals contract and he was bringing nothing to the table in his performance, and I don’t know this for fact because Im just a lowly fan but I assume his team mates were fed up with him… that’s why I say let him have a few games at least before writing him off

          • HOCKEY83

            You are wrong on his point totals over 3 years
            First season 50 points and played 17:10 per night
            Second season 34 points
            Third season 20 points 4 less minutes per night than the first season.

          • Albertabeef

            @CalgaryFan I don’t know how much the owners hate buyouts. Since Tre arrived we have bought out Bouma, Raymond, Brouwer, and that kid that came in the Lack trade I think it was. We could also see one of Frolik or Stone bought out as well sometime this summer.

      • HOCKEY83

        Why are you using guys that are big enough to take care of themselves as examples?
        Saying someone is not good in the dressing room is just a loser Oiler troll tactic that makes them feel better about all the horrible trades they’ve made in recent years.

    • buts

      Totally agree Jimmy. Every flame just grew and inch and added 10lbs as well the liberties taken on our top players are going to stop. His presence is a deterrent badly needed. He’s the toughest guy in the league.

      • flames2015

        Lucic played with Mcdavid, and people were still beating up on McDavid. Quite frankly to me, Lucic no longer has that fear factor. Johnny’s not all of a sudden going to play like he’s 6’2 and 200lb cause Lucic is on the bench.

    • blobbo

      One thing you guys might be missing: The Oilers are subsidizing Lucic’s salary. Treliving can add his own subsidy to make him easier to trade. It isn’t a great option but it could taste better than a buyout.

      • The Red Knight

        Exactly Flames could trade lucic in another deal retaining more salary , would another team take lucic at 4.5 mill , I think if teams will pay reaves 3 mill it’s a definite possibility,but I’m intrigued by the trade and this is what we may need ,a tough sob , basically Neal just became a 6.2 million dollar player and Hathaway at 1.5 ,would you say Lucic replaces both those players,and at 5.2 mill , Maybe Aline of Monahan,TKACHUK,Lucic would work as there not overly fast players,they could skate with each other .

    • With Respect

      Flames might have won in the player exchange but lost big in the contract exchange. Looched buyout would only save 500,000 against the cap and he has to be protected for the expansion draft. I love Looches toughness but the game has passed him bye he is unbelievably slow. Difficult to protect your teammates playing 10 minutes on the fourth line.

  • Trevy

    The thing I hate most about the negative comments from both Oiler and Flames fans, is that they become judge and jury without either of these players playing a single game with their new respective teams. Did anyone read the interviews of the players themselves where Lucic said it was hard to play game in and game out on a team that was already out of the playoffs. Or how many present and former Flames players rave about his character on and off the ice, not to mention all the other intangibles he brings. Yes if he makes everyone play 6” taller and heavier and they all end up producing more because of him, that’s a win in itself. If he can also chip in some offense himself, that’s a bonus too. Bottom line is Neal was on a winning team and played like crap, looked like crap and didn’t care. Lucic will do whatever it takes and now that he’s on a winning team and has friends endorsing him on the Flames oastcand present, you know he’s going to come out guns blazing. His cap is only $5.25 and do what if he can’t be bought out. He can still waive his NMC for expansion and probably will because Seattle would never take him anyways. Neal is a one dimensional player that can only score goals and basically threw the Flames under the bus in an interview that he sited as saying it’s going to be nice to play with players that can pass the puck. Screw him! Being in the Oilers is only going to make him worse and I guarantee they will be buying him out by year two, which will not come cheap as he’s tacking in an additional $750k. I don’t mind this trade at all. It was a bad contract for a bad contract. BOA just got better and if a Lucic could clean Kassians clock in the process, it’ll all have been worth it! Rant over, going to pour another drink, cheers

    • everton fc

      Bravo! Great comment! One of the best I’ve read in a while.

      You never hear about Neal the “good guy off the ice”. You do – often – about Lucic. He was stuck in a sess pool, like McDavid, and others. Holland was the right choice for the Oilers (I am one Flames fan who doesn’t, and never has hated the Oilers. I lived in Sherwood Park when they went on the run that ended up losing to the ‘Canes in the Cup Final. It was as awesome and experience as our run down here, which I also experienced, first-hand. They are good fans, up north – it’s their owner/and organization, that kills them)

      Back to Neal for Lucic. I like it. Like I said earlier in this thread, some writer up north actually said Lucic isn’t as painfully slow as often reported. We shall see. I see Lucic going double-figures, goal-wise. Neal was never a Flame – he was a Flame in contract, only. Lucic will embrace Flaming C, on his jersey, and “giver”, for the fans and teammates, alike.

      GO FLAMES!!

      • The Red Knight

        I got a feeling Lucic is gonna become a fan favourite, I thought we totally missed out on Lucic and got Brouwer instead ,funny how he ended up here anyway , I’m stoked , and Neal gone this feels like a Win win . Maybe even give Lucic an “A ” and give him the chance to lead .

    • HAL MacInnis

      Neal is definitely the guy with more pressure on him. I’ll be happy if Lucic sticks to a simple game plan (doesn’t become a liability), lays some guys out on the ice and cleans a few clocks. I think Milan can handle that. Neal’s winning ways rely completely on other’s doing the heavy lifting… and there’s only so much patience out there for guys who like to ride coattails. Just saying.

      • everton fc

        I hope Lucic nails Neal, on a clean, open-ice hit. And I agree with your comment – Neal’s not a playmaker. He needs guys to set him up. Nothing necessarily wrong w/that, but he may indeed be a one-dimensional player who wants it handed to him on a silver platter.

  • Doh!!!

    Couple questions: 1) How crazy bad is James Neal in the dressing room that he consistently scores 20 or 30 but no team wants him or is willing to give him a second chance? Wow. 2) Will Lucic be five or six times meaner than Lomberg on the fourth line (b/c that’s what we’re paying for here). I hope Lucic shows up next year pissed off at the world and plays like a mean machine, because nobody else on this team does right now.

    • Lazarus

      Lomberg? Seriously? Not even a comparison. No one is scared of that wet little muskrat. He goes and gets his ass kicked and smiles cuz he got a game in the NHL out of the deal

  • Flamesforever

    We need to relax Flamesnation. I for one am ecstatic Neal is gone. He was a black hole in our lineup. At least Lucic is engaged in the games he plays. As for the expansion draft I for one am not worried, if we lose a good player than we lose a good player, it’s the price of doing business.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        lol so if we not drinking the Kool aid we trolls ? omg timmys

        a lot of us point out how Neal, Jagr, Brouwer and now this goon coming here was cancer to the lock room and the ice..

        it like when we told you the great Deer need to be traded and you like we never trade a 6.6 rd shocker it happen
        oh how about this year All Star break when some of us said this team just gas/luck ran out and where going to get smoke in the playoffs.. 1st round playoff dam it happen..

        yep let’s not point facts.. check the back logs

        Fyi, Backland is not a 2nd line center maybe this 12 seasons he playing here you will come to terms that he not and should be moved for i don’t know Cap Room ??


        • Albertabeef

          Never in my life have I seen a Flames GM bring in two ex Oilers in a single season. Especially not without them spending at least a full season elsewhere to get the stink off. It’s hard for an old school Flames fan like me to wrap my head around. It feels completely wrong. Like every day of your life you put your right leg into your pants first and then 40 years later you have to switch and put your left leg in first. It just feels weird and wrong. Oh and our last GM who traded with the Oilers was fired basically as soon as the next offseason hit. Only a true old school Flames fan would understand my pain from this trade, and how much it truly stings. It’s like the Leafs trading with the Habs ot the Blue Jays trading with the Yankees. It’s just Feuking wrong!!!

  • buts

    I only care and like that Neal I gone. I went a number of games and watched him closely, the guy is slow and didn’t bring anything to the team. If Neal isn’t scoring he brings nothing. If Lucia isn’t scoring he brings a lot more. This team gets its stars slashed and cheap shotted with no deterrent especially in the playoffs when the refs tuck there whistles away. I say our anchor helps a lot more than the coils anchor. Lucic is a faster skater than Neal as well. Coil fans, Roberts can get you fit, he can’t get you faster. Go ahead say you won the trade….time will tell.

  • calgaryfan

    the good : James Neal and Mike Smith are not Calgary Flames. They are the Ken Hollands problem now. Maybe Peters can find a role for Lucic, time will tell. I am willing to let this play out as Neal was not a fit in Calgary.

        • The Iggy complex

          Lol you obviously didn’t watch the flames at all last year. I guess not being an Oilers fan. Too hard watching a far superior team succeed. But Neal was epically slow and just floated around everywhere. No interest in any part of the game. Not even the physical stuff. Reporters were saying when they went into the dressing room to interview players, Neal will would be pouting in the corner in his own

        • HOCKEY83

          It’s pretty sad that the thing the oiler fans are most excited about this coming season is that they’ve added James (the not so real deal) Neal and Mike Smith, who will be 38 before the season is over and absolutely loves to hand teams easy goals in every single game he plays, to their roster. Way to get themselves out of the basement. McDavid must be so looking forward to the future of this team.

        • Luter 1

          Not only do the Oilers or Neal have to worry about the Stanley Cup finals but you will soon find out this guy is completely done. If you watched Flames games last year he was the worst player on the ice most nights, even with early season opportunities with good players and power play.