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How the Calgary Flames can afford to add a depth defender at the trade deadline

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
8 months ago
The 2022 National Hockey League trade deadline is mere days away and the Calgary Flames have already made two big splashes by acquiring @Tyler Toffoli and @Calle Jarnkrok. Many sources and insiders are suggesting that the club will probably try to add another blueliner, if they can. But given the Flames have just $712,022 in deadline day cap space (based on PuckPedia and our internal projections), how can they swing a deal?
Here are their options! (Spoiler: All the options involve their trade partner retaining salary.)
First of all, some assumptions: The Flames will probably try to keep some cap space around for in-season recalls from the farm due to injuries. So let’s ballpark that at about $150,000 of space, which would allow them to potentially bring up players like @Adam Ruzicka, @Jakob Pelletier or @Matthew Phillips for a week or so without going bust cap-wise. Another assumption is that nobody with a Stanley Cup ring is getting waived or demoted, so Brad Richardson is sticking around. Our third assumption is Darryl Sutter doesn’t want a ton of bodies around – he has since complained about the taxi squad and how awkward it was to have extra players around – so we’ll try to minimize how many players are on the roster.

Scenario 1: Nobody gets sent down

Let’s just say the Flames don’t send anybody down – after all, @Michael Stone was pretty good in the two fill-in games he had. They would have $712,022 in cap space and be able to accommodate, at most, a $1.124 million rental defender with the other team retaining half their cap hit. In this scenario, the Flames would be carrying eight defenders, which makes practice pretty easy because there’s a fourth pairing.

Scenario 2: Michael Stone gets waived and sent down

Stone was good, but maybe the Flames want an upgrade? If they send Stone down, they would have $1.462 million in cap space and be able to accommodate, at most, a $2.624 million cap hit with the other team retaining half. They would be carrying seven blueliners, but in theory the seventh guy would be an upgrade over Stone.

Scenario 3: Brett Ritchie gets waived and sent down

Stone’s been good so maybe the Flames want to keep him. On the other hand, it took Ritchie 60 games to score a goal (he played in half of those games) and perhaps they’d like to use his cap space for defensive depth. If they send him down, they would have $1.612 million in cap space and be able to accommodate, at most, a $2.924 million cap hit with the other team retaining half. Again, they would be carrying eight defenders (two extra!) but they would be down to just one extra forward on the roster.
Which scenario do you think is most likely? (I’m leaning towards Scenario 1, since I think the Flames like the 23 players they have right now.) Let us know your preference in the comments!

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