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Calgary Flames

Flames Cap Situation 2010/11 and 2011/12



With the Flames extending Matt Stajan earlier today, the plan for the club’s cap management for the next two years is beginning to come into focus. The CBA will end after the 2011/12 season, and no one really knows how things will look after that season, so let’s look at the numbers for 10/11 and 11/12, and see how the holes can be filled over the next two years.

Before we get started, let me note that I'm assuming a roster make-up of 14F 7D 2G. All numbers are via the indispensable CapGeek.




Current players under contract: 16

Forwards: 9

Hagman-Stajan-Iginla 13.5 million

Bourque-Langkow-Kotalik 10.8 million

Dawes-Glencross-Moss    3.35 million


FAs: Nystrom, Conroy, Mayers, McGrattan, Higgins UFA, Boyd RFA


Total 27.65 million, and other than a third line center, which might well be Mikael Backlund at 1.275 million, the Flames have a very representative group inked, with a pretty good forward like Moss or GlenX on the fourth line. Add Backlund and four bottom-end types for a total of another 3 million-ish, and the forwards would quite likely max out at around 32 million in 10/11. Moving Kotalik and giving some of his dough to Chris Higgins would be my preferred option, as well as finding a solid bottom six center in case Backlund falters.


Defence: 5


Regehr-Bouwmeester 10.7 million

Giordano-Sarich 4.491 million

Pardy-? 700K


FAs: Johnson UFA, White RFA


Total 15.891 million and two guys needed. Moving Sarich seems like the play here, with his contract out-stripping his value. The Flames may or may not see it that way, of course. If White, as rumoured before the trade, is looking for 3.5 million per season the Flames need to move on, and if someone signs him to an offer sheet anywhere near that number, they should take the picks and run. If he comes in at around 2.5 million, the Flames likely would go for it, although they should be very careful about the dollars and term for White with a better player becoming an UFA in the summer of '11. For the sake of this discussion, let's pencil him in at that 2.5 million number, and and 6-700K for a 7th D. The total for the D would be 19 million-ish.


Goal: 2


Kiprusoff  5.833 million

McElhinney  525K


Total 6.358 million, and you have a sub-functional back-up, IMO.


Grand total:





That's 57.358 million, and very likely over the cap by about half a million bucks. In other words, no good. So, what to do?


First, these recent signings make it much more likely that Cory Sarich is enjoying his last season in Calgary. Replacing his minutes with Ian White and one more solid guy in the 2 million dollar range would get the Flames to about 55.7 million to get the year started, which would be tighter than I’d prefer, but livable. Given the depth of useful guys in the UFA defence pool and the organizational depth the Flames have on the back-end, this is the obvious spot to trim. I’d also add that if Chris Higgins continues to play well, I’d prioritize him ahead of White. White is RFA, so the Flames do have some control on how he’s dealt with. At any rate, moving Sarich and not losing their mind on an Ian White contract should allow the Flames to get through 2010/11 in one piece if they want to keep the current forwards more or less intact. Some shuffling to upgrade the back-up goal position might be a good idea as well, and I doubt I’ll get much dissent on that point.


With the assumptions in place re: a White contract and Sarich shipping out for a 2 million dollar guy, let's move on:




Players signed: 11


Forwards: 7 + Backlund


Hagman-Stajan-Iginla  13.5 million

Bourque-Langkow-Kotalik  10.8 million

Moss-Backlund           2.475 million


Key UFAs: Dawes, Glencross


Total: 26.775 million with half a dozen spots open, but only 1 in the top nine. That should be manageable for the same sort of money that we looked at for 10/11.


Defence: 3 + White

Regehr-Bouwmeester 10.7 million

2 Million Guy-White 4.5 million (est)


Key UFAs: Giordano, Pardy


Total: 15.2 million with Giordano needing a new deal. His looming FA status is why the Flames shouldn't go nuts on any deal for White. It would either force them to choose White ahead of Giordano, which would be a debatable move at best, or weaken the team elsewhere if the club resorts to overpaying both of them. Since I have them not going too crazy on a White contract, let's give Gio 2.75 million. I'll admit that in light of the Oduya contract last summer the Gio dollar figure could well be low, but we can always hope, and I'll assign the final two spots on the D a collective number of 1.5 million, so that would give an overall D number of 19.425 million.


Goal: 1


Kiprusoff  5.833 million


A back-up making 1 million wouldn't be out of order, would it? Total it up at 6.833 million.


Grand Total: 

32 M at forward

19.425 M at defence

6.833 million in net


That's 58.258 million, or 1.658 million over this year's cap. That might be doable by then. If the cap is flattish again, the Flames will have to move a useful body of some sort, with the veteran 2 million dollar D I penciled in, Kotalik or Langkow being targets at that point. 


Now, of course, Sutter could move a bunch of bodies at any point to change all of this, but it does appear that the Flames can likely manage to run in place to the end of the CBA if they so choose with minimal disruption to the current core. Whether that's a worthwhile plan is an exercise I'll leave to you folks.

by Robert Cleave