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What moves do the Calgary Flames have left to make before opening night?

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
As of Saturday morning, the Calgary Flames had 30 players on their roster. By Monday afternoon at 3 p.m. MT, they have to be down to a cap compliant 20-to-23-man roster.
So what moves do they have available to make to get there? (And what moves will they likely make?)

Who’s left?

The Flames’ roster is 30 players, which can be broken down into four groups:
  • 16 forwards: Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Yegor Sharangovich, Mikael Backlund, Matt Coronato, Adam Ruzicka, Nazem Kadri, Dillon Dube, Blake Coleman, Dryden Hunt, Walker Duehr, Cole Schwindt, Adam Klapka, Emilio Pettersen and Martin Pospisil
  • 9 defencemen: MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Jordan Oesterle, Nikita Zadorov, Dennis Gilbert, Ilya Solovyov and Nick DeSimone
  • 2 goaltenders: Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar
  • 3 unavailable players: Oliver Kylington (personal), Jakob Pelletier (shoulder) and Kevin Rooney (shoulder)
Exempt from waivers due to their age/experience levels are Coronato, Schwindt, Klapka and Solovyov. Pettersen, Pospisil and DeSimone all cleared waivers on Friday.
Pettersen, Pospisil and DeSimone weren’t on the trip to Vancouver and they seem destined for the Wranglers. That cuts 30 players down to 27. Similarly, Kylington, Pelletier and Rooney seem destined for the injury/non-roster list when rosters are filed. That gets the Flames down to 24 players.

So what’s left to do?

The folks at PuckPedia published a piece on how teams can optimize their LTIR usage. Here’s what they said about the Flames’ situation:
LTIR candidates: Oliver Kylington ($2.5 million), Kevin Rooney ($1.3 million), Jakob Pelletier Season Opening IR ($406,000)
LTIR moves: With a roster of 21 healthy skaters that includes 12 forwards (Duehr/Hunt/Ruzicka as #10/11/12), and 7 Defencemen (includes Gilbert as #7), the roster is $1,681,000 over the cap.  Kevin Rooney ($1.3 million) plus Pelletier ($406K on SOIR) is $1.706M, so this roster is just $25K away from fully optimizing LTIR. After submitting their opening roster, they could subsequently add Kylington to LTIR, adding his $2.5 million as cap space. This would allow them to call up 2 more healthy players, like Schwindt, Solovyov, and/or Klapka.
So to optimize, the Flames could do this to their current group:
  • Send Pettersen, Pospisil and DeSimone (who have all cleared waivers) to the AHL to get the roster down to 24 active players.
  • Send waiver-exempt players Klapka, Schwindt and Solovyov to the AHL to get the roster down to 21 active players, creating an opening roster that’s $1.681 million over the cap.
  • Place Rooney and Pelletier on LTIR, which would allow the Flames to go up to $1.706 million over the cap.
  • File that 21-man roster with the NHL as the season-opening group, which would “lock” the Flames’ LTIR spending ceiling (with those two players on LTIR) at $1.681 million over the cap.
  • If desired, they could place Kylington onto LTIR, which would add $2.5 million to their $1.681 million LTIR overspend ceiling.
Any players placed on LTIR would need to miss 10 games and 24 days – this can be pro-rated from the beginning of the season if enacted later – and the Flames would need to remove cap hits before they activated players from LTIR.
LTIR usage isn’t ideal – teams don’t accumulate cap savings while using LTIR space – but the Flames don’t really have much of a choice, and PuckPedia’s illustration of their situation showcases the best way they can act in a tough cap situation. They’ll need to do further manoeuvrings when players become available again, but for now, this gives them the most flexibility within a fairly inflexible system.
Get your tickets for the FlamesNation Season Home Opener party, and come hang out with us at Greta Bar while we watch the Flames take on the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener!

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