The Calgary Flames roster needs some cap-related tweaks (but it’s not bad on paper)

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
11 months ago
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The Calgary Flames do not have a general manager. They do not have a head coach. But as their work begins for the off-season in earnest, they have 34 players under contract for 2023-24.
They have some tweaks to make to wiggle under the salary cap, but the bones of their anticipated NHL roster don’t look all that bad.
Let’s dive into the likely NHL players for 2023-24, presuming that everybody with one-way deals are on the NHL roster (except for Kevin Rooney) and the team fills in gaps with players on league minimum contracts.


There are 10 NHL forwards under one-way contracts, plus the buried cap hit for Rooney.
Dillon Dube
Elias Lindholm
Tyler Toffoli
Jonathan Huberdeau
Nazem Kadri
Andrew Mangiapane
Mikael Backlund
Blake Coleman
Adam Ruzicka
Walker Duehr
Kevin Rooney (buried in AHL)
The combined cap hit of the projected 13 forwards listed here is $49,012,500 – which includes three placeholder forwards making league minimum. (The Flames spent $49,539,594 on forwards in 2022-23.) The cap savings from Milan Lucic’s departure ($5.25 million) were almost entirely eaten up by Jonathan Huberdeau’s $4.9 million raise.
Interesting internal options to fill in those placeholder spots include Matt Coronato ($925,000), Jakob Pelletier ($863,333), pending restricted free agent Ben Jones and pending Group 6 unrestricted free agent Matthew Phillips. Obviously… all of these guys are making more than league minimum, so it seems probable that (a) the forward group’s cap hit will be north of $49 million and (b) there could be opportunities to generate some cap savings from the forward group.
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There are seven NHL forwards under one-way contracts.
Nikita Zadorov
MacKenzie Weegar
Noah Hanifin
Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington
Chris Tanev
Dennis Gilbert
Honestly, this group of seven blueliners actually looks pretty good, with three fairly balanced pairings. Their combined cap hit is $27,262,500, which is a bit of a jump from the $25,981,486 the Flames spent on defence in 2022-23.


There are two NHL goalies under one-way contracts.
Jacob Markstrom
Dan Vladar
Finally, here’s the same goalie tandem the Flames have used for each of the past two seasons. These guys cost $8,200,000, a jump from the $6,754,396 the Flames spent on goalies in 2022-23 – primarily due to Vladar’s bump up in pay from his previous contract. Yes, there’s Dustin Wolf (and his paltry $813,333) waiting in the wings, too.
All-told, the Flames’ combined cap commitments from the listed players is $84,475,000. The cap ceiling is $83,500,000, and the Flames usually like to operate with a couple million or so  in wiggle room to deal with injuries or to facilitate mid-season trades. That is to say, it’s reasonable to expect the Flames to try to get down to around $81 million in cap commitments from where they’re at presently, which would involve about $3.5 million in existing cap commitments heading out the door.
Yes, they have work to do. A fairly significant piece will probably need to be swapped out. Heck, maybe a couple. But generally-speaking, this roster has some good bones. They just need to fill it out a bit and find a way to make it cap compliant.
(Yes, easier said than done.)

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