Milan Lucic is now a member of the Calgary Flames. But the arrival of the Vancouver product from the Edmonton Oilers brings along with it a few complications for the team’s hockey operations department moving forward.
The salary structure
Under Brad Treliving, the Flames have carved out a pretty logical salary structure. Well, here comes Lucic to throw a wrench into things.
Even with the Oilers carrying $750,000 of his cap hit, Lucic will count $5.25 million against the cap – more than anybody on the team not named Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan or Mikael Backlund (though Matthew Tkachuk likely joins this group this summer). He’ll eat up the sixth-most cap on the team, but he won’t be the sixth most important player.
The no-move clause
Lucic waived his no-move clause to facilitate the trade, but OilersNation’s Jason Gregor has some intel:
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) July 20, 2019
Lucic is the only Flames player with a NMC. Several players have no-trade clauses of various stripes – the others Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Mark Giordano, Michael Stone and TJ Brodie.
The expansion draft
As he has a NMC, Lucic would be required to be protected in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft that will welcome the expansion Seattle Grinders to hockey’s highest level. The expansion terms allow the Flames (and other existing clubs) to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters and a goalie. The Flames were already going to have to make some tough decisions given all their fine young defensemen without having to protect a player with a NMC.
The Flames have the ability to ask Lucic to waive his no-move. He has the ability to say no. Adding Lucic and his NMC complicates things and takes away a bit of control from the club.
The Oilers are retaining 12.5% of Lucic’s salary. That also applies to any potential contract buyout. However, the bonus-heavy nature of Lucic’s contract complicates things.
Our pals at PuckPedia broke down how a buyout would look given Lucic’s salary retention:
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 19, 2019
Buying Lucic out would (a) be pricey and (b) carry with it an extremely minimal cap savings, rendering his deal essentially buyout-proof. This aspect of the trade is likely why the Flames got salary retention and a conditional pick thrown in, but it also means that this is a gamble that general manager Brad Treliving is likely going to have to live with for better or worse.