Flames retain cap flexibility after free agent spending spree

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
On Wednesday, the Calgary Flames made a big splash by signing free agent Blake Coleman to a contract that runs through 2026-27. They made smaller acquisitions, too, ultimately adding a handful of new faces to their club.
After all the moves they made, they still have a lot of salary cap flexibility.
Here’s what the NHL roster seems to look like. Cap details are from PuckPedia and cap estimates for restricted free agents are courtesy Evolving Hockey.
Pos.PlayerAgeCap Hit (USD)
GJacob Markstrom31$6,000,000
GDan Vladar23$750,000
DNoah Hanifin24$4,950,000
DRasmus Andersson24$4,550,000
DChris Tanev31$4,500,000
DNikita Zadorov26RFA ($2,892,000 est.)
DJuuso Valimaki22RFA ($1,565,000 est.)
FMatthew Tkachuk23$7,000,000
FJohnny Gaudreau27$6,750,000
FSean Monahan26$6,375,000
FMikael Backlund32$5,350,000
FMilan Lucic33$5,250,000
FBlake Coleman29$4,900,000
FElias Lindholm26$4,850,000
FAndrew Mangiapane25$2,425,000
FTyler Pitlick29$1,750,000
FBrett Ritchie28$900,000
FTrevor Lewis34$800,000
FDillon Dube23RFA ($2,032,000 est.)
B/OTroy Brouwer$1,500,000
All-told, that’s $75.089 million in cap commitments (and projected cap hits) for 19 players, which leaves two open spots on defense and one on forward. They have $6.411 million of cap space to work with.
In terms of who could fill those three open spots internally, or in terms of returnees from last season’s club, there are a few contenders.
On the blueline, it could be some combination of RFAs Oliver Kylington and Connor Mackey, or UFA Michael Stone. None of the three will break the bank. Mackey looked good in limited viewings, Kylington’s definitely capable, and Stone impressed as a steadying presence with Valimaki on the third pairing after Darryl Sutter’s mid-season arrival.
Up front, it could be some combination of prospects Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka and RFAs Matthew Phillips and Glenn Gawdin. Ruzicka, Phillips and Gawdin have done well in the AHL and showed well in short NHL auditions last season. Meanwhile, Zary and Pelletier looked good at the World Juniors and in their respective junior leagues last season, and both are expected to be given long looks at training camp. With the Flames adding some depth veteran forwards who can play all over the place – both Pitlick and Lewis can play center or wing – that gives the Flames the ability to try out some of their kids alongside some battle-tested linemates and not throw them into the proverbial deep end of the pool.
The Flames also retain the ability to add some salary, whether it be via a trade or further free agent signings. They’ve been mentioned in the Jack Eichel trade chatter. If such a trade went down, presumably an asset along the lines of Tkachuk or Monahan would be involved and, in that case, Eichel’s $10 million cap hit would be absorbed and the Flames would still have a bit of breathing room. That’s not to say that it’ll happen, but the club wouldn’t need to hack away at their team with a machete to fit under the salary cap.

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