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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The salary cap implications of Matthew Tkachuk’s deal

After playing a long waiting game, the Calgary Flames (finally) have a deal with Matthew Tkachuk. With the winger making $7 million against the cap for the next three seasons, what implications does that have for the club’s 2019-20 salary cap?

Here’s how the roster might look, with all the guys on one-way deal or who require waivers to go down to the American Hockey League.

Forwards

Johnny Gaudreau
$6.750m
Sean Monahan
$6.375m
Elias Lindholm
$4.850m
Matthew Tkachuk
$7.000m
Mikael Backlund
$5.350m
Michael Frolik
$4.300m
Sam Bennett
$2.550m
Derek Ryan
$3.125m
Milan Lucic
$5.250m
Andrew Mangiapane
$0.715m
Mark Jankowski
$1.675m
Austin Czarnik
$1.250m

Defensemen

Mark Giordano
$6.750m
TJ Brodie
$4.650m
Noah Hanifin
$4.950m
Travis Hamonic
$3.857m
Oliver Kylington
$0.731m
Rasmus Andersson
$0.756m

On Oct. 1, Juuso Valimaki will also count against the cap prior to going on LTIR.

Goalies

David Rittich
$2.750m
Cam Talbot
$2.750m

What’s that look like?

Between the key deals and the buyouts to Michael Stone and Troy Brouwer, the Flames would have around $1.55 million in cap space to use on extra bodies and to replace injured players – prior to Valimaki’s LTIR benefit.

To maximize the benefit of Valimaki’s LTIR, the club could start the season with Alan Quine ($735,000) and Luke Philp ($817,500) on the roster as extra for cap purposes, then move bodies around to maximize things. Michael Stone ($700,000) would seem like the ideal seventh defender, while Quine or Dillon Dube ($778,333) could be useful depth. Keep an eye on Czarnik, as if he struggles early in the season the club could try to bury him in the AHL (or trade him) and save a few hundred thousand dollars replacing him with Dube or Quine in the starting forward group.

In short: the Flames still don’t have very much cap flexibility at all. They don’t need to move anybody to be cap compliant on Oct. 1, but their wiggle room is virtually non-existent – less than $500,000, even if they get extremely creative with their LTIR space – and they flat-out cannot afford to carry a 23-man roster. Heck, they can barely afford to carry a 22-man roster and have space to replace injured players.

It will be fascinating to see how Brad Treliving manages the cap on an ongoing basis this season.