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Flames May Feel Sting Of Salary-Cap Crunch Next Season

NHL commish says cap may only go up $1M next season, which would leave maxed-out Calgary Flames in a tough spot.



NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the NHL’s salary cap will likely only rise by $1 million next season, which could be a problem for the Calgary Flames. 

Earlier reports discussed the possibility of the salary cap rising by a much higher number, especially since the league added the option of advertisements on jerseys, which some of the more massive markets like Montreal and Toronto took full advantage of. 

Bettman’s projection at the NHL Board of Governor meetings could put the Flames in a pinch.

With a reasonable assumption the cap would jump by a less conservative number, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving inked some sizeable deals this summer. In the wake of the departure of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, Treliving locked up both major assets from the Tkachuk trade in Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. He also added one of the top free agents in Nazem Kadri. 

While Kadri’s impact of $7 million was immediate, the raises for extensions for Huberdeau and Weegar don’t kick in until next year. Huberdeau’s cap hit jumps $4.6 million. Weegar’s goes up by $3 million. 

Backup Dan Vladar’s two-year extension kicks in next year, too. That’s another $1.45M leap. And Jacob Markstrom is back at his $6M fee. 

Adding those up, there’s more than a $9-million increase, and the only big money coming off the books is Milan Lucic’s $5.25M. Assuming defenceman Oliver Kylington is able to resume his NHL career next year, the Flames may only need to fill a few forward spots and a seventh defenceman next season.  

But the youth movement we’re seeing as a reward at the moment may be a forced issue next season. And with less than two million of anticipated space for maybe a handful of open spots, something will have to give. It will be challenging to take on any term in traded deadline deals if the Calgary Flames feel they've improved enough to make a run in the post-season. 

In the meantime, Flames fans should be cheering for some big-market teams to make deep playoff runs on the other side of the standings to bump that revenue up the rest of the year.

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