The National Hockey League’s 2020-21 trade deadline is today at 1 p.m. MT. After that point, players added to a team’s reserve list are not eligible to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Calgary Flames are a long-shot to qualify for those playoffs.
What are the constraining factors the Flames are dealing with right now, in terms of contracts, waivers and the salary cap?
Roster and contract limit
Until the day of the trade deadline, the Flames are limited to 23 players on their NHL roster (along with four to six players on their taxi squad). They’re also constrained by the NHL’s rule regarding 50 active contracts.
Right now, the Flames are using 22 of their roster spots:
- Goalies (2): Jacob Markstrom and Louis Domingue
- Defensemen (7): Rasmus Andersson, Mark Giordano, Juuso Valimaki, Chris Tanev, Michael Stone, Noah Hanifin and Nikita Nesterov
- Forwards (13): Derek Ryan, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Milan Lucic, Matthew Tkachuk, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Monahan, Brett Ritchie, Josh Leivo, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett
On the taxi squad are goalie Artyom Zagidulin, defensemen Oliver Kylington and Alex Petrovic, and forwards Buddy Robinson, Zac Rinaldo and Dominik Simon.
The Flames have 44 players under active contracts – this doesn’t include Jakob Pelletier, Connor Zary, Walker Duehr, Yan Kuznetsov, Ilya Solovyov and Dustin Wolf, whose deals don’t start until next season.
No-trade and no-move clauses
Two players have active full no-move clauses: Jacob Markstrom and Milan Lucic.
Four players have active no-trade clauses of various kinds:
- Mikael Backlund has a full no-trade
- Mark Giordano has a 11 team no-trade list
- Sean Monahan has a 10 team no-trade list
- Chris Tanev has a 10 team no-trade list
These players can be traded, but would have to agree to waive their no-move or no-trade clauses for the trade to go through.
Waivers and the recall limit
Remember the 23-man roster limit? Well, NHL clubs can get around that by sending waiver exempt players to the AHL (or taxi squad) to temporarily open a roster spot for a player being acquired.
Only a handful of Flames are waiver exempt right now:
- Dillon Dube
- Juuso Valimaki
- Michael Stone
- Louis Domingue
After the trade deadline, the Flames can only call up an AHLer (or taxi squad player) four times under non-emergency conditions – “emergency conditions” means you don’t have enough healthy bodies to fill an NHL lineup. If a player is brought up under emergency conditions and the team decides to keep them up after the emergency, that would use up a recall.
The salary cap
The cap ceiling is $81.5 million. The Flames have $80.514 million in cap hits right now – between their active roster, buyouts and retained salary. They previously have stashed away approximately $430,000 of cap space from previous days. Between the space they have and the space they’ve stashed, the club can add about $2.156 million in cap hits and remain cap compliant at the end of the season.
Juuso Valimaki can earn up to $145,122 in performance bonuses this season for hitting thresholds for goals, assists and points and ranking among the team’s defenseman leaders in ice time, blocks or plus/minus. He’s likely only to hit one of those bonus categories, if any, so at most he’ll earn $36,289. (Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by their performance bonuses, but that amount is subtracted from the next season’s cap space.)
Pending free agents
Finally, the Flames have a lot of players on expiring contracts of various kinds:
- Unrestricted free agents (10): Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, Brett Ritchie, Joakim Nordstrom, Michael Stone, Nikita Nesterov, Buddy Robinson, Alex Petrovic, Zac Rinaldo and Louis Domingue,
- Restricted free agents (15): Sam Bennett, Dillon Dube, Dominik Simon, Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, Luke Philp, Matthew Phillips, Glenn Gawdin, Justin Kirkland, C.J. Lerby, Alexander Yelesin, Connor Mackey, Colton Poolman, Tyler Parsons and Artyom Zagidulin