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.


70 Responses to Flames' cap puzzle can be solved

  1. albertateams says:

    As long as Kotalik goes to Europe they are under the cap and can still fit Staios in if they could get rid of him via trade that would be the most benefical and play a kid like Pelech, Negrin or Pardy. They also signed Stone so the last two forward spots are probablly going to be filled by 2 of Sutter, Stone, Ivanans, Jackman, or Armstrong. Armstrong is a kid Sutter seems to be really high on the past couple of months. 

  2. LeafsneedSteen says:

    This is the year Vancouver can finally make that next step to becoming one of the league's top contenders however it remains to seen how their blueline gels.  Gone are the days where signing stay at home defenseman put teams over the top.  Just like Komisarek and Beachemin didn't make the Leafs better, or Jay McKee solidify the Blues, the addition of Hamhuis and Ballard could prove to be of minimal impact.  Can the Sedins keep up their pace from last season or do they regress?  Does Luogno bounce back.  This is a big year for Vancouver.

    Calgary has too many ex Leafs from the leanest of seasons.  Suter has cemented an atmosphere where the media will constantly look for the sky to be falling.  Ignila looks to be the new Sundin, an aging star that management is foolish to build around.  Kipper is the x factor.

    Edmonton, Colorado and Minny are all rebuilding, this amounts to Vancouver at least winning a division title.

  3. Bure96 says:

    Calgary is a wild card likeyou said. They could be a teampicking in the top 5, or could be a playoff team. I think the New York Rangers comparison is true, except I would take Gaborik/Lundqvist (healthy Gaborik) over Iginla/Kiprusoff any day. They should blow up the roster next year if they don't make the playoffs. Two years from now they'll actually be in pretty good shape with a couple solid young forward (Stajan, Bourque), and assuming they give Mark Giordano a big extension next summer, they'll have him and Bouwmeester. If Bouwmeester can prove last year was just an off year then he's still a guy you can build around. They'll also have Regher, and Iginla who would both have major trade value with two years left on their deals. They would most likely just keep Kipper considering the poor value for goalies these days. They would have a pretty nice core to build around then, but right now the roster just doesn't seem like it's right.

    Mikko Koivu is a nice player, but hardly a player you can build around. Good for 70 points, but what team in the league doesn't have one dependable offensive player? Even the worst team in the NHL last year has Ales Hemsky, who's better then Koivu. Toronto has Phil Kessel. Florida had Nathan Horton (I still like the Wideman trade though). Columbus has Rick Nash. Compared to the rest of the conference I have to say Minnesota is the worst team. Martin Havlat is overrated. Always injured, and isn't nearly the player Marion Gaborik was. I just don't see Martin Havlat as a fit for this team. Trade him to a team like Los Angeles and he could do some great stuff, but once again, he's just not a guy you want to build your franchise around. They are incredibly soft upfront too if you think about it. All one dimnesional forwards, but still none of them are Ilya Kovalchuk. Cam Barker is horribly overrated too. He's a third pairing defensemen who people think will become a franchise player. He's just average.

    I agree with most of the stuff you said though.

  4. reinjosh says:

    He means what Burke did to revamp the scouting department. Blacker, D'Amigo and one other (can't remember who) were all considered to be better picks, considering only one year has past.

  5. reinjosh says:

    You gotta think this year or next, when the draft is considered to be weak, they are going to pull the trigger like that again but with a lower risk factor. They have the assets and the skill team. I say they do it this deadline or before the 2011 draft. Its only a matter of time. They need to win a series for financial reasons and for the fans.

  6. reinjosh says:

    I would take Kipper and Iggy or Gaborik and Lundqvist anyday. Iggy can score at pace or just under with Gaborik. He will never be healthy for a full season so Iggy has those extra games to make a difference. Kipper is just a class higher than Lundqvist. Lundqvist is great, but Kipper is the kind of goalie that keeps a season respectable and wins you game after game after game by himself.

  7. albertateams says:

    I agree about Vancouver however if Luongo doesn't bounce back in a big way they still wont have playoff success. I don't think you can count on Sedin having as good a year as last year. He wont be bad but I don't see him putting up the same numbers as last year.

    Calgary has reduced its ex leafs which is a positive (Hagman, Stajan, White) all three are decent players in there prime. It might actually help the team rally around each other and take an us against the world approach to the season. Its going to go one of 2 ways the team will gell and surprise the naysayers or its going to implode and it will be a disaster.

    I don't think its follish to build around Iginla he's still got 2 or 3 good years ahead of him Yzerman didn't win his first cup until 33 years old. This core has 2 years left to make runs at the cup after that they have to look at starting over. It could go the way of the Sundin lead leafs but Calgary's Defense is substantially better than those leafs teams and calgary's supporting players are younger than those in TO.

  8. albertateams says:

    I like what Burke has done in terms of drafting but outside of the first round picks they are still unknown commodities. D'Amigo looked good at the world jr's but there are reasons he wasn't drafted earlier the point being outside of first round picks it really is more subjective untill they actually prove themselves in the NHL. 

  9. Bure96 says:

    It's not like the Canucks blueline was already weak though. They were still probably one of the top 10 units in the league last year. It's not like adding Komisarek and Beauchimen to Kaberle + young unproven players/depth level players + terrible goalie. Your adding Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis (which I would prefer over the two toronto guys) to a defense that already includes Sami Salo (very underrated player), Alex Edler, And Christian Ehrhoff (another very good player). Any defense with Alex Edler as the 5th defensemen has to be pretty stacked. By the way i'm not including Kevin Bieksa, who will probably be traded to fill either our need for 1 more big 3rd line winger, or a reliable 4th line center. Then you have O'Brien in the 6th spot, who is quite a good player though with some off ice problems. Aaron Rome might be the best 7th defensemen in the NHL. Andrew Alberts struggled last year, but as an 8th defensemen is still great. If Alberts continues to struggle they have solid young players with the Moose in Connauton, Oberg, and Sauve. The defense might be the best in the NHL, at least top 3 or 4. Factor that in with having one of the NHL's best offenses (even if Henrik and Daniel only get to around 90-95 points next year), and having a guy who should be one of the best goalies in the league + one of the finest young goalies in the league right behind him, and you have a team that has no reason not to be playing in the Stanley Cup finals next year. Anything less would be disappointing, because I don't see how you could upgrade the team anymore. They need a 3rd line winger with size, and 4th line center who can take faceoffs. They are a little too left handed on defense. I don't know what they will do next summer if they get knocked off early in the playoffs.

  10. albertateams says:

    Thier defense has some good players but they are lacking that go to guy. Most of them are 2-4 guys not one of them is a corner stone dman. Its knit picking but that plus Loungo being very overated is going to be there downfall. I still don't see them being the favorite over Chicago in the west.   

  11. reinjosh says:

    Even if Sedin dropped 10 points their fine. Remember that the two Sedins are some of the leagues most consistent stars. Last season they both took a major step in the offensive department and I don't think its to much to expect 90 point seasons from both of them

  12. reinjosh says:

    I meant it as early indications are going a ways to show that the leaf scouting has improved.

  13. albertateams says:

    Their offense is not going to be the problem the point I was making is that it is doubtful that Henrik is the Art Ross winner again. They will both still put up 90+ I just see him falling off slightly from the career year he had. Goaltending in the playoffs is where I see the Canucks down fall. Until Loungo proves he can preform under pressure I just don't see them beating Chicago. Loungo has been very shaky in pressure situations.  

  14. albertateams says:

    The Canucks d wasn't top ten last year.  And even with the additions they have made they are still not top 3. (Philly, Chicago, Detroit). There d is in the same group as Calgary, Toronto, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, LA. The big difference is Vancouver doesn't have a #1 guy, Pronger, Keith, Lidstrom, Chara etc. They have good players but which one is the go to guy I don't see one its going to be a committee approach which in the playoffs is going to hurt them. 

  15. LeafsneedSteen says:

    My point wass that having a good blueline on paper doesn't mean they'll play well.  The post lockout Leafs have always had a good defense if you judge them by their names however they've played poorly together.  Take for instance Hal Gill, we basically ran him out of town while he's flourished in the right role on other teams.  Hell even McCabe is captain of the Panthers.  I'm not disputing Vancouver's blueline's potential just saying it's hardly a given.

    Personally I think the one knock on the Canucks is that they lack a clear cut number one defenseman.  I think they could have used Kaberle (I stress that this is simply my opinion) or Niedermayer, both would have given the team another dimension instead they're going to have to play a committee.

  16. reinjosh says:

    My point was about the Sedins only. There defense should go a long way to theoretically saving Luongo some problems and should help him out. Ballard and Hamhuis give them a bigger, tougher backend which should help. Luongo should be better but he has been shaky at points. He did however look injured these playoffs.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Adam Pardy is a very solid player. Could even push for top 4 minutes. I would trade Ian White if I'm Calgary, they've got enough depth on the blueline.

  18. albertateams says:

    I like pardy, but white and Regehr were great down the stretch. I would rather trade sarich or staios to free up a spot even if its for little in return.

  19. FlamingHomer says:

    Second worst GAA in the league. Not sure what the coaching staff is teaching but it isn't defense.
    Oh, and not everyone would take Phaneuf over White. Just ask Robin Regehr.

  20. SabresFan220 says:

    Well if you're buying out Staios or putting him on re entry waivers (provided they don't get Souray the same way instead) the Sabres need another defenseman to fill out their roster. Staios would be cheaper, but he offers a little less than Souray. He could be the better option of the 2 if the Sabres choose to concentrate most of their remaining cap space on a top 6 forward.

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