According to a report by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Flames are expected to ask winger Milan Lucic to waive his no-movement clause in advance of this off-season’s Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
All players in possession of no-move clauses require protection from Seattle unless they choose to waive in advance. Feb. 1 was the first day that teams could request players to waive their NMCs for the upcoming Expansion Draft.
Teams can choose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender from Seattle; alternatively, they can list any eight skaters to protect, as well as a goalie. Jacob Markstrom and Milan Lucic are the only members of the Flames to possess auto-protective no-movement clauses as part of their contracts.
This past off-season, Flames general manager Brad Treliving gave out a no-movement clause for the first time in his tenure to help entice Markstrom to Calgary on a six year contract.
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On the other hand, Lucic received his NMC from Peter Chiarelli, the ousted former Edmonton Oilers GM, as part of the seven year contract he signed in 2016. The clause remained in effect even after Lucic waived it to facilitate his trade to Calgary in 2019.
The Flames would likely prefer to allocate Lucic’s reserved protection slot towards another player with more future potential and value as an asset. With Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dillon Dube all but locks to be protected, the Flames could be able to use Lucic’s freed-up spot to keep Mikael Backlund or even Sam Bennett away from the Kraken.
Lucic’s contract will count for $5.25 million against the Flames’ salary cap in 2021-22 and 2022-23. The Oilers retained $750,000 of Lucic’s annual salary as part of the deal which also saw James Neal head to the provincial capital. Lucic scored eight goals and 20 points in 68 games for the Flames last season; he has two goals and three points in nine games this year. (Neal was a healthy scratch for the Oilers on Tuesday).
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If Lucic chooses to waive his no-movement clause for the Expansion Draft, it is highly unlikely that the Kraken would select him at his inflated salary without the Flames providing them serious incentive to do so. Lucic’s deal is difficult to buy out and his cap hit vastly exceeds the value of his contributions on the ice—his contract is something of a no-move clause unto itself.
That said, if Lucic decides against waiving his no-movement clause, it would remain unlikely for the Flames to include him on their protected list. Lucic’s bonus-laden contract is structured in such a manner that makes it unpalatable, but not impossible, to buy out. Doing so would alter Lucic’s cap hit for both the Flames and Oilers—and, more importantly, it would eliminate his no-movement clause.
Milan Lucic’s cap hits for the Flames and Oilers, without and with summer 2021 buyout
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Season
Flames cap hit, no buyout
Oilers cap hit, no buyout
Flames cap hit, with summer 2021 buyout
Oilers cap hit, with summer 2021 buyout
2021-22
$5,250,000 (with NMC)
$750,000
$3,572,917
$510,417
2022-23
$5,250,000 (with NMC)
$750,000
$4,885,417
$697,917
2023-24
$0
$0
$510,417
$72,917
2024-25
$0
$0
$510,417
$72,917
This piece is not advocating for buying out Lucic regardless of his desire to waive his NMC. This information serves to reinforce it is very unlikely that Lucic will be on the Flames’ protection list for the Expansion Draft. If he does not waive and the Flames wish to protect another forward in his place, they could simply buy him out to negate his NMC and free his spot.
Even if Lucic is against leaving Calgary, waiving his no-movement clause does not mean Seattle will have any desire to take his contract off the Flames’ books. With Sam Bennett, Oliver Kylington, one of Mark Giordano and Chris Tanev, David Rittich, and Washington state’s own Derek Ryan likely to be made available, Kraken GM Ron Francis will almost certainly have no shortage of superior and more valuable options to select from Calgary.
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Despite being overpaid, Lucic has shown to be a positive contributor at times in his tenure with Calgary. Last season, the Flames allowed just 2.10 expected goals against/60 with Lucic on the ice at even strength, good for third-best among team regulars. Including the playoffs, Lucic has scored 11 goals and 25 points in his last 60 games as a Flame.
It is unclear when the news of Lucic’s decision to either waive or uphold his NMC will be made public.