Flames' cap puzzle can be solved

The math adds up — with slightly more than US$1 million to spare.

As it stands, the Calgary Flames could say they don’t have salary cap problems — that is provided they’re willing to go with exactly 12 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies all season and don’t suffer injury problems.

Make that pretty much no injuries at all.

Oh yeah, that’s a roster without defenceman Ian White — the restricted free agent who’s due a healthy raise from the $850,000 cap hit of last NHL season.

That’s also a roster without any rookies, including top prospect Mikael Backlund.

The math adds up — only the formula makes as much sense as calculus. (At least to yours truly.)

That means Flames GM Darryl Sutter has some stickhandling to do between now and the Oct. 7 season-opener in Edmonton.

The good news for Sutter — and the rest of Flames Nation — is he can possibly undo the salary cap knot.

It’s certainly not one which will require the kind of stripdown we’ve watched transpire with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks or even unique tap-dances pulled off by teams such as the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers in seasons past.

If the Flames can deal away a defenceman or two — say Cory Sarich and/or Steve Staios — for a young roster player, a draft pick or a prospect, things will become much easier for the GM.

If Ales Kotalik decides it is best to just remain in Europe, that could also make the salary cap situation more manageable.

(Not that anyone should praise Sutter should that happen, since the team would still be on the hook for millions of real dollars, which makes the trading and reacquisition of Olli Jokinen such a curious turn of events.)

If — and we hope this doesn’t happen, let us stress that — Daymond Langkow’s slowly recovering neck injury doesn’t come around and becomes career ending or even just a long-term injury situation, that will save the club as much as $4.5 million against the cap.

http://www.calgarysun.com/sports/hockey/2010/07/03/14600911.html


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