The 2023 Calgary Flames trade deadline primer: contracts, clauses and cap space

Photo credit:Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The National Hockey League’s 2022-23 trade deadline is today (Friday) 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.
Here are the various constraints the Flames are working within heading into the deadline.

The standings

The Flames are 10th in the Western Conference by points percentage, with a 27-22-13 record and a .540 points percentage. They’re five points behind Winnipeg for the final wild-card spot, but the Jets have a game in hand.

Roster and contract limit

Until the day of the trade deadline, the Flames are limited to 23 players on their NHL roster. They’re also constrained by the NHL’s rule regarding 50 active contracts.
Right now, the Flames are using all 23 of their roster spots:
  • Goalies (2): Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar
  • Defensemen (7): Connor Mackey, Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Dennis Gilbert, MacKenzie Weegar and Noah Hanifin
  • Forwards (13): Jonathan Huberdeau, Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic, Blake Coleman, Trevor Lewis, Brett Ritchie, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube, Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka, Walker Duehr, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri
On the injury reserve list are Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone.
The Flames have 45 players under active contracts – this doesn’t include Lucas Ciona, whose deal don’t start until next season. To be eligible to play in the NHL’s post-season, a player needs to be on the Flames’ reserve list – either under contract, or the Flames have to own their NHL rights – as of the trade deadline.

No-trade and no-move clauses

Three players have active no-move clauses: Jacob Markstrom, Nazem Kadri and Milan Lucic.
Six players have active no-trade clauses of various kinds:
  • Jonathan Huberdeau has an 8-team no-trade list
  • Mikael Backlund has a 10-team trade list
  • Milan Lucic has a 10-team trade list (he has both a no-move and a modified no-trade)
  • Blake Coleman has a full no-trade
  • Noah Hanifin has an 8-team no-trade list
  • Chris Tanev has a 10-team no-trade list
These players can be traded, but would have to agree (in writing) to waive their no-move or no-trade clauses for the trade to be processed by the league.

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 to temporarily open a roster spot for a player being acquired.
Only two Flames are waiver exempt right now:
  • Jakob Pelletier
  • Walker Duehr
After the trade deadline, the Flames can only call up an AHL player four times under non-emergency conditions – “emergency conditions” means you don’t have enough healthy bodies to fill an NHL lineup (e.g., fewer than two goaltenders, six defencemen or 12 forwards). 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. Bringing up the same player four times under non-emergency conditions would wipe out all four recalls.

The AHL roster

For an NHL player to be eligible to play in the AHL at any point before the end of the season, they have to be on an AHL team’s roster as of the trade deadline. For the Flames, only Duehr and Pelletier are waiver exempt and eligible to be assigned to the Wranglers on Friday. (Dennis Gilbert requires waivers, and since he wasn’t waived this week, he’ll be on the NHL roster for the rest of the season.)
If the Flames assign Duehr and Pelletier to the AHL prior to the deadline and then call them back up afterwards, that will count as two of their four post-deadline recalls.

The salary cap

The cap ceiling is $82.5 million. The Flames have $82.453 million in cap hits on their roster right now – between their active roster, their injury reserve list, and Kevin Rooney’s buried salary in the AHL. They have stashed away approximately $763,964 of cap space from previous days. Taking the space they’ve stashed and projecting that their existing cap spending continues to the end of the season, the club can add about $3.411 million in full-year cap hits and remain cap compliant at the end of the season.

Pending free agents

Finally, the Flames have a few players on expiring contracts of various kinds:
  • Unrestricted free agents (10): Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Brett Ritchie, Connor Mackey (Group 6), Michael Stone, Radim Zohorna, Matthew Phillips (Group 6), Clark Bishop, Colton Poolman and Oscar Dansk
  • Restricted free agents (5): Walker Duehr, Emilio Pettersen, Martin Pospisil, Ben Jones and Nicolas Meloche

Draft picks

The Flames have picks in the next three drafts in the following rounds:
  • 2023: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th
  • 2024: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th
  • 2025: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th
(The Flames probably acquire Florida’s 2025 1st-rounder from the Matthew Tkachuk trade, and that pick probably goes to Montreal as part of the Sean Monahan trade. The conditions are complicated, but they boil down to Montreal probably gets the better of Calgary and Florida’s 2025 1st-rounders.)
If the season were to end on Friday morning, by points percentage the Flames would be allocated the 13th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, prior to the draft lottery proceedings.


Join us on March 3rd for the Daily Faceoff Live: Trade Deadline edition as Frank Seravalli and the panel break down all of the latest rumours, news, and rumblings from around the NHL. The show will be live on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter from 10 AM – 2 PM MT to keep you up to date on all things trade deadline no matter where you’re watching from.

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