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.

  • Albertabeef

    A left winger who shoots left. I do believe Tre has lost his mind, and in turn has caused me to further lose mine. Why not trade Bennett for Chiasson or Andersson for Kris Russell. Maybe Tre can bring Ryan Smythe out of retirement. Feuking Calgary Oilers 🙁

    • Kevin R

      You need to go have a nice shot of Salted Caramel Crown Royal on ice. Then turn on the Live version of Van Halen’s Panama & listen to the moral to worry about today, today,& worry about yesterday that day, & not worry about tomorrow until tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come, f***k tomorrow.

      • Albertabeef

        Hey pot meet kettle! Dude seriously, you are way way way more negative than I am. Just get gotta here with that garbage. I just have to mention one word to you, “Monahan”. lol 😛

        • supra steve

          So…the sewing circle is snickering? Oh my, this is bad.

          Moved one overpriced player who didn’t fit in with the team, who ownership was probably not all that keen on buying out. Got another overpriced player who fills a team need.
          Would have been way cheaper if Reeves would have signed with the Flames instead of Neal last year…but that ship has sailed. Problem child Neal is gone and surprise surprise, none of us is thrilled with the cost of moving him. But the sky is not falling, every time any move is made a percentage of the fan base just completely flips it’s lid. I’m willing to wait for the season and hope for the best.

          • SgtRoadBlock

            lol Funny some of us told you we where doomed at All Star break , people here where like we fin we going deep into the playoffs lol..Now we need crap grit cause people r turning down to sign here or get trade here …So we got a goon that will ice maybe 8mins for $5million yeap we winning

            Maybe the Great Backland on his 12 seasons here will score for what he getting pay for… cause Janko can do what he doing on the PK and even score for under $2million ..

            not like we at the Cap lol…

          • Kevin R

            I think what everyone is forgetting is the blow up during the preskate between Neal & Peters & the subsequent game 5 scratch was the end of Neal in Calgary. They kept a pretty good lid on how bad the relationship was between Peters & Neal & there was just no way Neal could be in a Flames uniform come training camp. Both sides said all the right things during the offseason. I doubt Flames ownership would authorize a buyout & told Tre this is your signing, your mess deal with it & trade him. Problem was no one would take him without a huge sweetener. Can you imagine the screaming if we had to package Dube or Kyllington to move Neal? Tre was in a bad place. We needed a nuclear detterent & like you would have preferred Reaves & his 1 year left at 2.75mill. But Vegas wouldnt trade him to a divisional rival & they wouldnt take any contract back as they have their own cap nightmares.

            We had no answer to that puke Zadorov who I saw viscously crosscheck Backlund from behind. We would have had no answer to that puke E Kane nor Reaves. We had no answer to Lucic against us or even Kassian for that matter. We wouldnt have had an answer to Ferland who we are about to see 5 times a year & possibly playoffs. Now we do. If you have a few beers with any of the Flames players now, they are going to be a lot happier having Lucic doing 8:00 minute shifts & making boneheads who go after our smaller skilled guys accountable. Our players are going to be able to play just that little bit taller, including Tkachuk & Bennett. People dont think this isnt needed are wrong.
            Im just thrilled we habe our nuclear deterrent & let other teams play softer not to wake him up against us & we got rid of Neal & actually gained $500K of cap space per year & potentially a pick. I have no expectations for Lucic scoring 20 goals. For people thinking Neal is a better rebound possibility, it would never have happened on the Flames. I have my doubts about Neal in Edmonton, heck he couldnt keep up with Monahan, who isnt exactly a speed demon, how in the world is he going to keep up with McDavid or RNH?

            Last note, because Lucic was paid a lot of bonuses, his actual $$$ to be paid over the next 4 years is actually $7.0 million less than Neal & then add in the extra $3.0mill Oilers are retaining, that is significant. If Flames chose to buyout Lucic in two years prior to the expansion draft, the actual real $$$ Ownership have to write is significantly less than if they were buying out Neal. Yeah we dont get any cap benefit from the buyout but cap space & real dollars does mean something if you’re the guy writing the cheques.

          • Albertabeef

            @kevinr “I think what everyone is forgetting is the blow up during the preskate between Neal & Peters & the subsequent game 5 scratch was the end of Neal in Calgary.”

            I wonder how much of this is James Neal just simply telling his coach that he was being severely out coached? We will likely never know the truth about what happened. Still does not mean you trade with Edmonton. Yikes!

          • Luter 1

            Oh don’t mention Reaves, I got trashed over an over that we needed a Reaves type player, now we ended up with an extremely expensive version. Playoffs proved we were too soft and Tre has known this for a few years as he tried getting Reaves, Kadri, thought he was getting some grit in Neal, so he has struggled to find that type of player. Good riddance on Neal, dragged everybody down with his effort, attitude and lack of leadership. Just shows these GM’s aren’t nearly as smart as you would expect because both these guys were real boner signings.

          • slapshot444

            Can’t wait till Jan 11th 2020. The dome will be rocking. Every hit Lucic throws will send the crowd to its feet. Every goal on Smith will be an extra cheer.

          • SgtRoadBlock

            yep why would ex pr hockey player know over people on a hockey fan site .. kool aid drinking gone over the limit again… this is like last year all over again we warn you at All Star break this team gas out.. we warn about Neal/Jager this Goon all bad things to have in a locker room with Drama kid’s

        • The Iggy complex

          Really… Not sure what your watching. The actual hockey experts are saying it is a hockey trade where two struggling players were traded for eachother. Happens all the time. Funny when the few uneducated fans trying to say the flames got fleeced or it was terribly one sided….. Lucic actually had more points than Neal last year on an absolutely terrible team playing most the year not with oner of the only 3 players who could score on Edmonton. Now he can play on oner of the highest scoring teams and get support on his line. He will actually go in the corners and dig for picks, not just float around and hope he gets the puck

          • Albertabeef

            3rd time in the 39 years I have been a fan that these two teams have traded players. No, it doesn’t happen all the time. For some of us just the thought of trading with Deadmonton is far worse than finger nails down a chalkboard.

  • Ludis Fanaticus

    I’ve never wanted to vent more. And yesterday the site goes down.
    Maybe the internet gods were trying to save us from ourselves … but…

    I just don’t like this trade.
    I am, in general, supportive of the Flames management.
    They have done a very good job and I am proud of our team and its progression toward dominance, over the past 6 seasons.

    I am a season ticket holder; with 4 seats since 1995.
    Right now, I don’t want to watch this Flames team. I don’t want to hope this trade, that appears to tie our hands in the future with little hope of gains in the present, works out.

    If Treliving is right, I’ll eat crow.
    But I think I’ll be choking on pocket dogs until the end of the season and reminded of this horrible trade every 4th shift.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        lol if you think we can score that many goals again you on a Kool Aid ride. that was break out year hype run that crashed after the All Star break.. Just that Facts Ma’am

    • Luter 1

      I don’t understand as a ticket holder how you would see this as so negative. You had an upfront seat to watch the disaster called the “Real Deal” and must of thrown up on your hot dog a few times watching his embarrassing effort. You also had an upfront seat of seeing our talent getting abused for last couple years. I wouldn’t blame Johnny for wanting to leave the way we protect him. Yeah it’s not a perfect scenario but we got rid of an anchor, saved a few bucks and have a sorely needed policeman

    • Derzie

      Trashes of your post, Ludis, are the usual ‘in Tre we trust’ gang that poo-poos anything that resembles reality or criticism. The ONLY people in the world of hockey who think this trade holds anything positive for the Flames are on this blog. The rest of the world is laughing and shaking their heads.

  • MDG1600

    I have a bad feeling this is going to look like a really bad deal when the Seattle expansion draft rolls around. Tre and the Flames would have been far better off simply buying out Neal. I don’t even want to think about who Calgary loses in the expansion draft because they have to protect a plowhorse like Lucic.

    • The Red Knight

      Remember FLAMES can always retain more salary and have Seattle take lucic at 4.5 mill or something similar, then we’d get that 3rd round for free and rid of Neal , remember how Vegas went after Englend for some tough presence, after Vegas there may be more appeal for players to want to go to an exspansion team . More chance of being the top dog on the team . But I’m liking this trade , lots complained about Trevling not adding size and toughness and said Neal was in movable,well he may have just pulled off a sweet move here , can’t wait to find out , this is a fun trade , hmmm Bennett and Lucic and TKACHUK line could be menacing! And what’s a 3rd rounder worth ? Does anyone know what the stipulations on that 3rd rounder are?

  • Derzie

    Cue the turd polishing. Lucic is not an NHL player anymore. Sure he’s tough. But his contract is considered the worst in the league and until yesterday untradeable. Once again, Treliving knows better. Another reclamation project with almost zero probability of success. Great GMs know how to exploit other GMs weaknesses. Holland schooled Tre. Period.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    we lost in this trade in so many ways…we not even going to get that 3rd round pick unless the goon get 10 goals

    BT planning not to be the GM before Seattle join it so easy to see what he doing ..

    Poor Janko go from Brouwer to Neal and now the Goon… yep it Janko fault for not getting more ice time lol..


    • Albertabeef

      The way I read it is Neal needs to score 21 and has to have 10 or more goals than Lucic for us to get that 3rd. Lucic has scored 23, 10, and 6 goals over the last 3 years with the Oil. At that rate he should score 2-4 goals this season.

    • Willi P

      The conditions for the 3rd round pick have nothing to do with how many goals Lucic gets. He can get zero goals. The conditions are that Lucic has to get 10 less goals than Neal and Neal has to score at least 21 before the Flames get the 3rd rounder.

      I think it is, however, the weirdest conditional draft pick trades I have ever seen. BT should have got a lower guaranteed pick that bumped up to a 3rd if it met conditions.

      • Albertabeef

        So are we supposed to hope he sucks so we can get a draft pick out of the deal? Gotta hope the guy we traded away has a decent comeback season?
        Yes the amount of goals Lucic gets is important. If Neal somehow gets his 21 and only that and Lucic somehow gets 12 goals, we get no draft pick. My only thought was at his rate of decline Lucic’s scoring he may only get a handful of goals. The only question mark then is will Neal hit 21.

    • Luter 1

      Not much to lose…..Neal…..the anchor of the year last year. You didnt notice our talent needed to be protected better?. Looch will do that as his job. Neal had no role because he was signed as a finisher and proved he was finished

  • LannyMac

    How do you Ostriches text with your heads in a hole. Want to catch one of you doing it some time must be quit a feat. There is no upside to Lucic he will never score more than 10 again in a season. Our best hope is he can raise havoc on the second powerplay unit and that he can keep up enough on the fourth line to warrant putting on a jersey. Their is a very good chance neither will work out. In regards to Neil chances are based on the eye test last year this guy is done but it was his first bad year of pts production. If and a big if he produces with Nug or McD next year the fan base is going to be asking for Tre’s head. I know I will be.

    • The Iggy complex

      Never score ten again…. Didn’t know you could see the future. Actually playing with NHL players now on a team that score goals he could easily score ten. He could also suck. Who knows. That’s the thing about trades. Kind of need to wait to see how they play out.

    • HOCKEY83

      Lucic was picked up by the flames specifically to punish people on the ice. It’s obvious to them and anyone who understands hockey that he is not the offensive player he once was. If he pots the odd goal and assist….BONUS. Neal had nothing going for him but his offence and that has all but dissapeared. If he pots a few because he’s playing along side one of the best players in the game good for him but regardless of how any of this turns out…who cares what the fan base is asking for…Oh no…not tre’s head…They’ve been asking for his head for a couple of seasons now regarding certain UFA pick ups…who cares.

  • CowboyBob

    These are the types of trades that usually make the beginning of the end for a GM with a team. Ownership and senior management might want to start vetting all trades so as to ensure there are no more desperation moves. On the bright side the “slowest skater on the team” competition just got real interesting, MT or Lucic???