Friends, we were a bit confused on Saturday afternoon when Brad Treliving alluded to a long-term injury (LTI) situation impacting the Calgary Flames roster. LTI is a complex mechanism within the collective bargaining agreement and salary cap, and so his mention got us curious.
After chatting with our pals over at PuckPedia, we think we have an idea of what might be happening.
The LTIR aspect was interesting considering Treliving’s mention of it on Saturday:
“There’s cap implications when you look at Kylington’s cap number and him not being available. He’s got to show up on our roster and potentially down the road if there’s an LTI placement, you want to eat up as much of your salary cap as you can, you want to get as close to your salary cap as you can. There’ll be some cap manoeuvring as we go through it.”
But given that Kylington is away from the team for personal reasons, there would need to be some sort of precedent that would make placement on the long-term injury reserve (LTIR) an option for the Flames in Kylington’s case.
When a player is placed on the injury reserve (or the long-term version), the club usually has to submit a form and some explanation for the situation to the league. In Drouin’s case, he was given an indefinite leave for personal reasons – later, Drouin disclosed that he was dealing with longstanding insomnia and anxiety
– and the league allowed him to be placed on LTIR. (A request: please continue to not
speculate about Kylington’s personal situation.)
If the league gave the go-ahead, the Flames could be able to place Kylington on the long-term injury reserve (rather than having him classified as “non-roster”). Assuming that Juuso Valimaki is not claimed on waivers, the Flames could maximize their LTI relief by using up the last of their projected $750,000 cap space. The Flames have six players under contract making $750,000 this season that could help them spend down to the penny – Martin Pospisil, Ben Jones, Matthew Phillips, Clark Bishop, Colton Poolman and Oscar Dansk. (If he clears waivers, Radim Zohorna would also be an option, as would Michael Stone in the event he signed a $750,000 deal.)
The mechanisms behind LTIR and the salary cap are complex and often frustrating for teams (and media). But the gist of it would basically be this: if the Flames spend to the cap ceiling and then are able to place Kylington on LTIR, it would give them the maximum flexibility because of how cap relief is calculated. If they were below the cap ceiling ($82.5 million), they could accrue daily cap savings. If they needed to spend above the ceiling, they would be able to spend up to an additional $2.5 million (Kylington’s entire cap hit). Once Kylington returns to the Flames, they wouldn’t be able to spend above the cap anymore.
For a team like the Flames that hopes to contend this season, maximizing cap flexibility is essential. Having the ability to place Kylington on LTIR would allow them the maximum amount of flexibility given their current circumstances. (Again: the NHL would need to allow such a placement, but Drouin going onto LTIR in 2021 seems like a reasonable enough precedent for the Flames doing so as well.)
The Flames have to file a cap compliant roster with the league at 3 p.m. MT on Monday.