The Flames 2017-18 roster is coming into focus. Here's a rundown of recent transactions by general manager Brad Treliving:
- June 17 - Traded for G Mike Smith to be the team's starter
- June 23 - Drafted D Juuso Valimaki 16th overall in NHL draft
- June 24 - Traded for D Travis Hamonic to round out the top four
- June 27 - Signed highly-touted college free agent RW Spencer Foo
- June 29 - Re-signed veteran RW Kris Versteeg
- June 29 - Traded for G Eddie Lack to be the back-up
- June 30 - Re-signed D Michael Stone
- July 1 - Signed C/LW Marek Hrivik to a two-way deal
- July 2 - Signed LW Luke Gazdic to a two-way deal
- July 13 - Re-signed LW/RW Micheal Ferland
- July 14 - Re-signed C/RW Curtis Lazar
- July 20 - Re-signed RW Garnet Hathaway
With these recent additions and signings in mind, I've built a roster that if everyone is healthy, should resemble the group of 23 players that will open the year with Calgary when the Flames visit Edmonton on Oct. 4 to kick off the regular season.
This is my best guess as of July 21 as to who will be on the big club and who is more likely to start the season in the minors. These projections are subject to change. Also, don't get too hung up on the actual line combinations listed.
I also stick-handled around a handful of restricted free agents (highlighted in yellow). To get a true sense of how close to the salary cap the team is, I've included my best guess at what their AAV figures will come in at for this season. In some cases (e.g. Bennett), I factored in a nice raise. In other instances (e.g. Kulak), I basically assigned them their qualifying offer. I will update these figures as contracts are agreed to and cap hits become known.
How Much Loot Can Treliving Spend?
That's a bit of a loaded question.
Now you'll see a figure below ($2.5 million) of the approximate cap space available. Understand that this is with a full 23-man roster as I've constructed it. If you subtract a player (i.e. demote him to the minors) to open up a roster spot, that player's listed NHL salary would no longer count so you have that much more money to spend if there is a free agent that interests you.
For example, removing Mark Jankowski increases the available cap space to spend on a replacement forward by $925,000. Thus, the available cap space for Treliving to spend on a free agent would grow from $2.5 million to $3.4 million based on my projected roster/payroll.
That said, there are a couple other variables to consider.
1. There could be individual bonuses owed this season. Matthew Tkachuk is a prime example. He could earn as much as $850,000 in performance bonuses, which would add onto his $925,000 AAV. Calgary may want to adjust their internal cap to allow a cushion for that. Otherwise, any overage has to come off their 2018-19 salary cap.
2. While I've been working off a 23-man roster, I get the impression that if the team is healthy, coach Glen Gulutzan likes to carry just two extras rather than three. That ultimately would save cap space.
So it's not quite as simple as I've portrayed it below but for my purposes, this is close enough and does the trick of providing a sense of where the team is at overall.
LW Gazdic (L) $650K
C/LW Hrivik (L) $650K
RW Poirier (L) $863K
RW Foo* (R) $925K
LW Shinkaruk (L) $863K