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The Calgary Flames' 2015-16 Salary Cap Situation

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In an attempt to make sense of the signings this past week, here's a look at the Calgary Flames' current cap situation.

My face trying to figure out LTIR.
My face trying to figure out LTIR.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

What a week for the Calgary Flames. Fans everywhere should be in agreement – Brad Treliving has absolutely crushed his first real offseason as a GM (let’s face it, last summer was all Brian Burke). Fortunately, the cap situation going into this summer was awesome and allowed flexibility.

It started with the signing of Dougie Hamilton. Then a surprise re-signing of Karri Ramo, mere hours before Free Agent Frenzy began. Finally, Treliving ended with a splash, signing UFA RW Michael Frolik.

With all of these signings, and RFAs still waiting in the wings, it’s understandable for the Flames’ cap situation to be a bit daunting and confusing.

All cap and salary information from GeneralFanager.

The Signed Players

Forwards
Player Salary
Michael Frolik $4,300,000
Jiri Hudler $4,000,000
David Jones $4,000,000
Mikael Backlund $3,575,000
Mason Raymond $3,150,000
Matt Stajan $3,125,000
Joe Colborne $1,275,000
Brandon Bollig $1,250,000
Sean Monahan $925,000
Johnny Gaudreau $925,000
Sam Bennett $925,000
Markus Granlund $767,500
Defence
Player Salary
Dougie Hamilton $5,750,000
Dennis Wideman $5,250,000
TJ Brodie $4,650,400
Mark Giordano $4,020,000
Ladislav Smid $3,500,000
Deryk Engelland $2,916,666
Kris Russell $2,600,000
Goalies
Player Salary
Jonas Hiller $4,500,000
Karri Ramo $3,800,000
Joni Ortio $600,000
Total: $65,804,566
Cap Space: $5,595,434

Assuming Markus Granlund and Joni Ortio start in the NHL this season, that’s just under $6 million of space to sign five RFAs and/or other UFAs.

GeneralFanager includes Granlund as a roster player, though hopefully he starts back in the AHL this season – which would increase the cap space by $767,500. Also, carrying three goalies is highly unlikely, and it is possible that Ortio could clear waivers without being picked up – which would increase the cap space by $600,000.

So, there could be up to $6,962,934 of cap space to play with.

The RFAs

According to proicehockey.about.com, these are the minimum for qualifying offers to RFAs:

  • Players who earned less than $660,000 in the previous NHL season must be offered at least 110 percent of last season's salary in a qualifying offer.
  • Players who earned up to $1 million must be offered 105 percent.
  • Players who earned over $1 million must be offered 100 percent.

Taking a look at each RFAs 2014-15 salary, here’s what the minimum QOs would have been:

Player 2014-15 NHL Salary Minimum QO
Drew Shore $900,000 $945,000
Lance Bouma $775,000 $813,750
Josh Jooris $925,000 $971,250
Paul Byron $600,000 $660,000
Micheal Ferland $600,000 $660,000

Total of QOs: $4,050,000

It’s highly unlikely that these guys will be getting offered the absolute minimum that is shown in the table, but just over $4 million is the minimum that will be added to the current cap hit.

Realistically, most of the cap space discussed above will be used to sign these five RFAs (there’s no way they all sign for less than $1 million each).

The Wild Card

Smid. Poor Smid. A neck injury is tricky, and hopefully he will be okay, but what is the likelihood he stays in the NHL and with the Flames? Tough to say, but it’s possible the Flames could even place him on LTIR. The implications of LTIR are a bit confusing - I would encourage some googling for the interested minds out there - but just keep in mind that Smid could present some opportunity for the Flames cap space in the future.

Summary

The Flames went into the offseason with a glut of cap space, which we hoped they would use to sign positive impact players. With the signings of both Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik, Treliving has done just that. So, even though cap space may be tight, the team looks pretty darn good.

The re-signing of Ramo for $3.8 million threw a bit of a wrench into the cap space situation, but the goaltending tandem worked out well last year, and Ortio is still a bit of a wildcard when it comes to performance.

The positive side of things is, the now-shortage of cap space is only temporary. A total of 11 of the currently signed players – accounting for $27,412,500 of cap hits – will become RFAs/UFAs next season. These players are (in order of cap hit):

  • Jonas Hiller ($4.5 million)

  • Mark Giordano ($4.02 million)

  • Jiri Hudler ($4 million)

  • David Jones ($4 million)

  • Karri Ramo ($3.8 million)

  • Kris Russell ($2.6 million)

  • Joe Colborne ($1.275 million)

  • Sean Monahan ($925,000)

  • Johnny Gaudreau ($925,000)

  • Markus Granlund ($767,500)

  • Joni Ortio ($600,000)

That will make for another fun offseason next year.