The Calgary Flames have allowed the June buyout period to come and go without making a single transaction. Despite experiencing a cap crunch, general manager Brad Treliving opted not to buy out any players.
Heading into the opening of free agency on Monday morning, the Flames have approximately $16.1 million in cap space available to them. But they also have to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett to new contracts, with Tkachuk’s deal on its own likely eating up half of that available cap space.
But rather than dish out the proverbial big bags of money to depth defender Michael Stone to find work elsewhere, Treliving’s crew seems content to play wait and see – either they’re content to keep Stone around as veteran depth, or they’re waiting to see if other cap space possibilities open up before making decisions. If the Flames have any arbitration cases filed, they gain a second buyout window in mid-August.
League-wide, nine players were bought out in this recent round: Dion Phaneuf (LA), Andrew MacDonald (PHI), Corey Perry (ANA), Patrick Marleau (CAR), Ryan Spooner (VAN), Valeri Nichushkin (DAL), David Schlemko (PHI), Andrej Sekera (EDM) and Scott Darling (FLA). That’s a lot of money being dished out to players to play elsewhere.
Troy Brouwer’s $1.5 million buyout hit remains on the Flames cap for three more seasons. A Stone buyout would add $1.17 million to that amount for another two seasons. Considering that Flames ownership is currently negotiating an arena deal – for which they’ll need to invest considerable capital – and have okayed several buyouts under Treliving already, it makes a lot of sense that the team hasn’t gone to that well right away.
That said, if they can’t find flexibility elsewhere, it wouldn’t be a shocker if Stone was no longer a Flame after the August buyout period.