The early snapshot of the Calgary Flames’ 2023-24 cap situation isn’t great

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The National Hockey League concluded their March general manager meetings in Florida on Wednesday, and one of the big pieces of news the emerged wasn’t terribly surprising: the league is still projecting a $83.5 million salary cap for the 2023-24 season. (Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t rule out the possibility of a slightly higher cap getting negotiated, though.)
If the cap stays at $83.5 million, the Calgary Flames will face some challenges getting under that ceiling.
Let’s dive in!
Courtesy CapFriendly, here are the Flames’ cap commitments for 2023-24 assuming a 22-man roster and the guys currently on the roster stay on the roster, with gaps filled by players on league minimum deals.
Goaltenders (2): $8.2 million
  • Jacob Markstrom – $6 million
  • Dan Vladar – $2.2 million
Defencemen (7): $27.26 million
  • MacKenzie Weegar – $6.25 million
  • Noah Hanifin – $4.95 million
  • Rasmus Andersson – $4.55 million
  • Chris Tanev – $4.5 million
  • Nikita Zadorov – $3.75 million
  • Oliver Kylington – $2.5 million
  • Dennis Gilbert – $762,500
Forwards (13): $49.05 million
  • Jonathan Huberdeau – $10.5 million
  • Nazem Kadri – $7 million
  • Andrew Mangiapane – $5.8 million
  • Mikael Backlund – $5.35 million
  • Blake Coleman – $4.9 million
  • Elias Lindholm – $4.85 million
  • Tyler Toffoli – $4.25 nillion
  • Dillon Dube – $2.3 million
  • Jakob Pelletier – $863,333
  • Adam Ruzicka – $762,500
  • Three league minimum placeholders – $775,000 (x3)
  • Burial penalty for Kevin Rooney – $150,000
All-in, that’s a 22-man roster with an $84.51 million cap hit. With a $83.5 million ceiling, the Flames would need to jettison $1.01 million in cap hits to get under the ceiling – and that’s not factoring in injury replacement call-ups throughout the season. Generally-speaking, the Flames have tried to have a couple million of cap space available to facilitate in-season manoeuvring, so we’d expect them to try to have around $81.5 million in commitments on the books – so that would require around $3 million or thereabouts to head out the door (and not get replaced).
Easier said than done.
Here’s that over-the-cap 22-man projected roster in line form:
Pelletier – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Kadri – Dube
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Placeholder – Ruzicka – Placeholder
(Extra: Placeholder)
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Weegar
Kylington – Tanev
(Extra: Gilbert)
Markstrom / Vladar
It’s not bad-looking, but it’s really similar to the Flames’ roster that’s currently 10th in the Western Conference.
In short, there are a few reasons why we’re expecting some roster turnover this summer. First of all, it’s rare for even successful teams to run it back with the same group – good managers usually keep tweaking things to maintain momentum. Second of all, the Flames disappointed in 2022-23 (even if they eke into the playoffs), and so under the same credo we would expect change just for the sake of mixing up the group a bit. Finally, the simple cap realities that the Flames find themselves in pretty much require some moves to make the math work.

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