As most people know, the CBA states that a team cannot have more then 50 active SPC's or less then 24 active SPC's. With the amount of movement during the summer, particularly the tons of AHL players signed, I thought it would be a good idea to go and look at what the Flames are dealing with heading into the 2011-2012 season.
So, the good: the Flames are not currently at the 50-man limit. The bad: that could easily change during the season.
If you look at the contracts CapGeek lists for the Flames, a total of 52 players are currently signed to various deals. Anyone who's played more then 11 games in the NHL or AHL under their current contract (45 of the 52 guys listed) are automatically counted against the limit, as they've "started" their contracts. They're not important at this point, however. We know they count, can't do anything to change that. Whoopie.
The other 7 guys, however, are of much more interest. We can expect Roman Horak, Joni Ortio, James Martin and Ryan Howse to play 11 games at the AHL level this year-Horak and Howse are "over-agers" and likely will not be returning to junior so add them to the 45 and you get 47. Ortio's over here because he's 20 and I'm pretty sure starting another contract in Europe would mean the Flames would eventually lose his rights. Martin signed his ELC after he turned "pro" (i.e. graduated from Major Junior), so he is either in Abbotsford or not playing this year. All 4 should be starting their ELC's in Abby-bringing the number to 49.
So now you're left with the three last guys on the list-Maxwell Reinhart, Turner Elson and Sven Baertechi. Reinhart and Elson are technically allowed to play in the AHL this year, while SVEN is not actually AHL eligible. So, unless one of thoe guys plays 11 games at the AHL level, their contracts won't start thanks to a special clause in the CBA called the "slide rule". Basically, it enables the players to be sent back to Major Junior without penalty as long as they've not played 11 games; basically they go from being on the SPC List to the Reserve List (a 40 player roster list that mostly includes ELC's that haven't started and unsigned draft picks). This also means their contracts don't start. So, unless the Flames are able to dispose of two contracts, don't bet on any of those three guys playing anywhere except their Junior teams this season.
I am unsure of how buyouts count against this limit, if at all. I can't imagine that they would have an effect, however. Let me rephrase that: they better not have an effect, because if they do the Flames are at 50. The good news is that 22 of the Flames current 52 contracts expire at the end of the season, so they'll be lots of room for HOPS to play around with next summer.
So, for simplicity's sake: the Flames have used 49 out of their 50 available spots for SPC's. They've used 13 out of their 40 available spots for players on their reserve list.