Friday, July 01, 2016

July 1 Free Agency Primer: How Much Do the Flames Have to Spend and What do They Need

Welcome to July 1, otherwise known as Canada Day, otherwise known as free agent frenzy day, and also this guy's birthday.



Here's a quick primer for Flames fans to get you through the day:


1. Recent History

The last six years has seen mixed results from Calgary in terms of how active they have been. For a while, it was an alternating years thing where they were busy, then not busy, then busy.  However, they broke that pattern last year in snagging one of the top free agent forwards available in Michael Frolik.

Here's a look back at some of the more notable signings by the Flames to took place on or around July 1:

2015 - RW Michael Frolik, C Derek Grant
2014 - G Jonas Hiller, LW Mason Raymond, D Deryk Engelland
2013 - None
2012 - RW Jiri Hudler, D Dennis Wideman*
2011 - D Derek Smith
2010 - LW Alex Tanguay, C Olli Jokinen, RW Tim Jackman

Note that Wideman was technically not a UFA signing an was instead a re-signing as GM Jay Feaster traded with Washington to get his negotiating rights prior to him hitting the open market. That said, the spirit of that acquisition was that of a UFA signing so I've included him.


2. How Much Spending Money do They Have?

As we prepare to drop off general manager Brad Treliving at the NHL mall for the day, how much money are we giving him to spend?

This one is difficult to calculate given so many unknowns. First, you have the uncertainty around what the salaries will be next year for pending RFAs Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Tyler Wotherspoon and Freddie Hamilton.

Secondly, you have the uncertainty around players like Joe Colborne (will they re-sign him?), Dennis Wideman (will they or can they trade him?) and Ladislav Smid (will he end up on long-term injured reserve?).

But, I did some estimations, did some roster projections, mixed in an executive decision or two and here's what I came up with. Note that this is based on:
  • Estimated salaries for the four players mentioned above
  • Wideman remaining with the team
  • Colborne not re-signing
  • Brandon Bollig being assigned to Stockton
  • Smid ending up on LTIR

2016-17 NHL Salary Cap - $73 million

2016-17 Projected Flames NHL Roster (as of July 1, 21 players) - $64.2 million
  • 13 Forwards - $34.2 million
  • 7 Defence - $27.5 million
  • 1 Goalie - $2.5 million

That leaves Treliving with $8.8 million to spend today on a forward -- preferably a RW, and a back-up goalie.

Here is the breakdown by position:

Forwards (13) - $34.2M

Starters (11):
Gaudreau 22, $7.25M*Monahan 21, $6.5M*TBD x, $__
Bouma 26, $2.2M - Backlund 26, $3.6M - Frolik 28, $4.3M
Tkachuk 18, $925K - Bennett 20, $925K - Chiasson 25, $800K
Ferland 24, $825K - Stajan 32, $3.1M - Pribyl 23, $925K 

Extras (2):
Hamilton 24, $750K*Hathaway 25, $690K 


Carrying (2):
Raymond, $1M (buy-out)
Bollig, $300K (buried in minors)


Defence (7) - $27.5M

Starters (6):
Giordano 32, $6.75M - Brodie 26, $4.65M
Jokipakka 24, $900K - Hamilton 23, $5.75M
Wideman 33, $5.25M - Engelland 34, $2.92M

Extra (1):
Wotherspoon 23, $1.3M*


LTIR (1):

Smid 29, $3.5M


Goaltenders (1) - $2.5M

Starters (1):
Elliott 31, $2.5M
TBD x, $__M



3. What are the Positional Needs?

Based on the above, I see the two primary needs as a top line RW and a back-up goalie.

While you could make a case for needing a second pairing defenceman to play with Dougie Hamilton also, I'm more than content to try Jyrki Jokipakka in that spot and/or Tyler Wotherspoon. If neither works, Deryk Engelland or Dennis Wideman are fall-back options if necessary.

A secondary need is a depth forward, which would ease the pressure of penciling 2016 first rounder Matthew Tkachuk into the line-up for this season. Also, Freddie Hamilton will likely end up on a two-way deal and can be jettisoned to Stockton without any issue.


4. Who is Available?

Let's go over the needs one-by-one, along with a small sampling of some of the UFAs out there that meet that description:

Primary Need: Top-6 Right Wing:
  • Kyle Okposo
  • Troy Brouwer
  • Loui Eriksson
  • Thomas Vanek
  • David Perron

Primary Need: Back-up Goalie:
  • James Reimer
  • Carter Hutton
  • Chad Johnson
  • Karri Ramo
  • Al Montoya

Optional Secondary Need: Depth Winger:
  • Joe Colborne
  • Matt Martin
  • Dale Weise
  • Derek Grant
  • Josh Jooris

Optional Secondary Need: Bottom-4 Defenceman:
  • Dan Hamhuis
  • Jakub Nakladal
  • Patrick Wiercioch
  • Matt Greene
  • Jared Cowen


Final Word

The mall opens at 10 am MT. Get your helmet on, and your elbow pads. Think Boxing Day only with a bunch of former pro hockey players.

With the free agent courting period giving teams an opportunity to talk contract with players already, expect a lot of door-crasher specials as soon as the mall doors open.

Whether or not those door-crasher specials will be the solution teams are hoping for. Well, we'll have to wait and see. But don't hold your breath.


Enjoy the madness on a day where window shopping often ends up being the best kind.



By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.

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3 comments:

  1. 2014 signings were terrible. I don't understand why Ramo wasn't really given consideration for backup position. Before injury he was playing v well. Considering Colborne signed for so little with Avs it's disappointing he wasn't re-signed. Not sure about Brouwer that's a lot of $$.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 2014 signings were terrible. I don't understand why Ramo wasn't really given consideration for backup position. Before injury he was playing v well. Considering Colborne signed for so little with Avs it's disappointing he wasn't re-signed. Not sure about Brouwer that's a lot of $$.

    ReplyDelete
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