In advance of the National Hockey League being shuttered for three days, the Calgary Flames have made a pair of roster moves that are probably driven by salary cap flexibility. According to the American Hockey League’s website, the Flames have re-assigned forward Matthew Phillips and blueliner Nick DeSimone to the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.
Since both Phillips and DeSimone were called up from the AHL after Dec. 11 and both players still had waiver exemption time left after clearing waivers earlier this season, the Flames had the ability to send them back to the AHL prior to midnight (local time) on Friday night. It appears that’s what they did.
So… why would the Flames both to do this? It’s all about roster and cap flexibility.
In terms of roster flexibility, sending these players down saves the Flames three days of their waiver clocks running: Phillips has spent 15 days on the NHL roster and DeSimone for 13 days, and they can be on the NHL roster for 30 days (or play in 10 games, whichever comes first) before requiring waivers to be returned to the AHL. If you’re the Flames, having them on the roster for three days where there are no games doesn’t make a ton of sense.
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Similarly, from a salary cap flexibility perspective, reducing the team’s cap commitments by $1.513 million for three days gives the club breathing room and the ability to spend that cap space later on. Why have these guys eat up cap space for three days with zero games being played?
For now, the Flames have a 21 player active roster: two goaltenders, six defencemen and 13 forwards. They have two open roster spots. They’re back in action on Dec. 27 against the Edmonton Oilers, and perhaps these two players could find themselves back on the NHL roster come morning skate on that day.