Defensemen Steve Staios ($2.7 million), Cory Sarich ($3.6 million), and forward Nik Hagman ($3.0 million) look to be the most likely candidates to be shipped out.
Complicating matters is the fact that a total of seven forwards, two defensemen, and Mikka Kiprusoff (goaltender) have some form of no-movement/modified no-trade or straight out no-trade clauses, which will make it very unlikely that any of them are moved.
As big as this season’s issue is, the bigger concern is 2011-12.
Calgary has a total of $50,058,333 committed to 14 players in 2011-12, which is an alarming amount of money for so little players.
Of those 14 aforementioned players, nine of them will have some form of no-movement/no-trade clause, which, again, is alarming to say the least.
Of those 14, three will be defensemen (Jay Bouwmeester, Robin Regehr, Cory Sarich), Kipprusoff will still be the No. 1 goaltender and 10 forwards (Jarome Iginla, Daymond Lankow, Matt Stajan, Rene Bourque, Ales Kotalik, Nik Hagman, Olli Jokinen, David Moss, Raitis Ivanans, and Tim Jackman) will still be in the fold.
That means the Flames will have approximately $9.4 million with which to sign a minimum of four defensemen, three forwards, and a backup goaltender (barring an increase in the cap).
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Flames appear to be in a lot of trouble next season and, as such, will likely have to part with some of their more expensive assets (sooner rather than later) if they are to fill out their roster successfully.
With so many NHL teams weary of bringing on big-money contracts, it will be all but impossible to move some of the Flames bigger earners.
Add that to the fact that so many of the players have those NMC/NTC and modified no-trade clauses and it’s easy to see that the Flames are in a bit of a quagmire!
There will be no easy answers for general manger Darryl Sutter, clearly he will have to bank on some of his prospects making the jump to the NHL en mass next season.
Forwards Mikael Backlund, Greg Nemisz, and Mitch Wahl all have NHL potential, while defensemen Tim Erixon and T.J. Brodie may also crack the lineup before long.
That said, like every prospect, until they can prove they belong on an NHL roster the jury is out, which is not too comforting for Flames’ fans.
Houston (or in this case Calgary), we have a problem!
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