The most expensive deals in Calgary Flames history (and their implications for future deals)
Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
Pals, the Calgary Flames have two fairly significant contract negotiations on the horizon. Once they figure out their contracts for the upcoming season – Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington have pending arbitration cases – they will have decisions to be made on MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau.
It’s not so much whether those two players are worth signing – they simply are. But the question is how high will the Flames be willing to go on their new contracts? For context, here’s a brief rundown of the heftiest deals in franchise history.
(While Matthew Tkachuk’s eight year, $76 million deal was sign with the Flames, it was negotiated by Florida as part of a sign-and-trade, so it doesn’t really count here.)
$44.625 million – Sean Monahan
Signed in August 2016 as a restricted free agent – a month before training camp – Monahan got a six year deal with a $6.375 million cap hit. His deal was worth 8.73% of the cap when he signed, the equivalent of $7.2 million in 2022-23. He received a modified no-trade clause in the final three seasons of his deal, which represented all three free agent seasons his deal bought.
$40.5 million – Mark Giordano
The first big deal negotiated by Brad Treliving as general manager, Giordano signed seven weeks into the final year of his expiring contract rather than become an unrestricted free agent. His deal was for six years with a $6.75 million cap hit, essentially setting the team’s ceiling within their internal salary structure – a “Giordano cap,” if you will. His deal was worth 9.45% of the cap when he signed, the equivalent of $7.8 million in 2022-23. He received a full no-trade clause for his first four seasons and a modified no-trade clause in the final two seasons.
$40.5 million – Johnny Gaudreau
Coming the year after Giordano’s deal, Gaudreau was a restricted free agent who couldn’t be offer-sheeted, so he and the Flames played a waiting game. With the Flames seemingly unwilling to budge to push his cap hit above Giordano’s, Gaudreau signed on the final day of training camp rather than miss games, and signed a six year deal with a $6.75 million cap hit. His deal was worth 9.25% of the cap when he signed, the equivalent of $7.6 million in 2022-23. He received a modified no-trade clause in the final year of his deal, the only free agent season his deal covered.
$39 million – Dion Phaneuf
Signed during the final year of his entry-level deal, Phaneuf got paid. He received a six year deal with a $6.5 million cap hit. His deal was worth a whopping 12.92% of the cap when he signed, the equivalent of $10.6 million in 2022-23. He received no trade or movement protections in this deal and was traded a couple seasons into it. (Oddly enough, his next deal featured both a no-move and modified no-trade clause.)
$36 million – Jacob Markstrom
Signed as a free agent, Markstrom was lured to Calgary with a six year deal worth $6 million per season. His deal was worth 7.36% of the cap, the equivalent of $6.07 million in 2022-23. He received a full no-move clause in every season of his deal.
$35 million – Jarome Iginla
Signed with a full season left on his prior contract in 2007, Iginla received the highest cap hit in franchise history at the time – since only matched by Tkachuk on a shorter deal. Iginla’s deal was five years and worth $7 million per season. His deal was worth 13.92% of the cap, the equivalent of $11.5 million in 2022-23. He received a full no-move clause in every season of his deal.
$34.5 million – Dougie Hamilton
Signed as an RFA shortly after his trade from Boston, Hamilton signed a six year deal worth $5.75 million per season. His deal was worth 8.05% of the cap, the equivalent of $6.64 million in 2022-23. His deal included a no-trade clause in the last two years of his deal, which covered his free agent years.
$33.4 million – Jay Bouwmeester
Signed shortly before the free agent market opened – just after Darryl Sutter traded for his rights – Bouwmeester signed for five years at $6.68 million per season. His deal was worth 11.76% of the cap, the equivalent of $9.7 million in 2022-23. His deal included a no-trade clause.
$32.1 million – Mikael Backlund
Signed midway through the final year of his previous deal, Backlund got a six year deal worth $5.35 million per season. His deal was worth 7.13% of the cap, the equivalent of $5.9 million in 2022-23. His deal included a full no-trade for three seasons and a modified no-trade for the next three.
In the context of these big deals – six of which were signed by Treliving – what should we reasonably expect to see from potential new deals for Weegar and Huberdeau? Our friends at Evolving Hockey project Weegar’s next deal as five years with a $7.227 million cap hit, with Huberdeau at eight years with a $11.91 million cap hit.
Weegar with a $7.227 million cap hit would be the highest on the Flames (aside from Huberdeau), but would be around 20th league-wide among defencemen. That’s not awful, and with Noah Hanifin’s contract up after the 2023-24 season, Weegar’s deal would set the contract structure on the team. (In a good way.)
Huberdeau at $11.91 million would be second in the entire NHL behind Connor McDavid. The projection seems a bit high, but even something in the high $10 million range would be top 10 in the NHL among all players. With Elias Lindholm’s deal expiring after the 2023-24 season and him due for a raise, a hefty deal for Huberdeau would also set the contract structure for Flames forwards. This could be either good or bad, depending on how you anticipate Huberdeau aging during his contract.
What do you think would be reasonable long-term deals for Weegar and Huberdeau with the Flames? How pricey would be too pricey from your perspective? Let us know in the comments!
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