Right now, the Calgary Flames are missing two key players: goaltender Jacob Markstrom and forward Derek Ryan. Both are expected to return soon, and both returns will have their own roster and salary cap implications.
Markstrom was placed on the injury reserve on Feb. 25, retroactive to Feb. 20. A player is required to be on the IR for at least seven days, a requirement met on Feb. 27, so Markstrom was eligible for activation on Feb. 28.
Markstrom just requires a roster spot since he already counts against the salarycap. The team had 21 active players as of Sunday night, so there’s no issue there. When he’s ready, they’ll just shuffle Artyom Zagidulin to the taxi squad and activate Markstrom into his roster spot and go with 22 active players. (The taxi squad was maxed out at six players as of Sunday night – Froese, Stone, Ritchie, Gawdin, Rinaldo, Kylington – so one of those players has to move to the main roster to make room for Zagidulin.)
Markstrom’s situation is very simple.
Ryan was placed on the long-term injury reserve on Feb. 6, retroactive to Feb. 4. A player is required to be on the LTIR for whatever is longer between 10 games or 24 days, a requirement met on Feb. 28. He became eligible for activation on Mar. 1.
Ryan’s situation is a bit more complicated. Because he’s on LTIR, there needs to be both an open roster spot and the Flames need to be under $81.5 million in active daily cap hits before he can be activated – teams are allowed to go over the cap while a player is on LTIR, but they need to be below the cap to activate them. The good news is he’s not on the road trip, so he won’t be activated until the Flames get back to Calgary. (The Flames can move players off the taxi squad and onto the AHL roster to make room for any cap shuffling once they’re back in Calgary, which makes life so much easier than having to do it while they’re on the road and logistics are much more challenging.)
If Markstrom’s already back from the IR (and Zagidulin has been shuffled to the taxi squad), then the Flames get to below the salary ceiling by shuffling everyone but perhaps Buddy Robinson (or another league minimum forward like Brett Ritchie) to the taxi squad or AHL roster. If Markstrom’s not back yet, then Zagidulin sticks around and everyone else gets shuffled to the taxi squad or AHL. Either way, the rotation of Glenn Gawdin and Byron Froese as fourth line centre will come to an end.
Expect the Flames to roll with a extremely small roster once Ryan gets back in an effort to stash cap space for the trade deadline (and beyond).