As the Calgary Flames head towards the trade deadline, one area they will have to consider is Oliver Kylington’s continued absence. While he remains away from the club, it is a private matter and it is none of anyone’s business. That said, it is reasonable to have a discussion revolving around what the Flames’ cap situation could look like heading into the trade deadline, assuming it is official that Kylington will not return for the remainder of the season.
The meaning behind cap space accrual
Explanations are summarized via PuckPedia.com. At around the time of the trade deadline, there are roughly about 41 days left out of a 186-day season. This signifies that a player’s cap hit will only count for 41/186 of their annual cap hit. For example, if a team has $1,000,000 in projected cap space for the year and that accrues, then at the deadline, they would have the ability to add $1,000,000 x (186/41) = $4,536,585.4 in annual cap hit. As of January 13, with the reassignment of Radim Zohorna to the Calgary Wranglers, the Flames are now housing 22 players on a max 23-man roster, with $914,198 in current projected cap space and the ability to use $4,026,825 come deadline day, per CapFriendly.com.
The explanation behind long-term injured reserve list usage
Explanations again summarized via PuckPedia.com. Firstly, for those who don’t know, in order for a player to qualify to be placed on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) list, they have to have missed at least 10 games and 24 days of the NHL season. When a player is placed on the LTIR, a team may exceed the salary cap. It should be also worth noting that LTIR placement essentially does not remove a cap hit from a team’s overall cap hit, it just gives a club the breathing room to exceed the salary cap.
The amount that a team may exceed the salary cap due to LTIR is commonly referred to as the “LTIR Pool.” The “LTIR Pool” is practically defined as the cap hit of the player placed on LTIR minus the team’s cap space at the time the player gets placed on LTIR. For instance, if a player with a $4,000,000 cap hit gets placed on LTIR when the team has $100,000 of cap space, the LTIR pool registers $3,900,000 (i.e. $4,000,000 – $100,000).
This is essentially why general managers around the league often make as many rosters moves as possible prior to a player being placed on LTIR, with the goal of being as close to the cap as possible. This practice is called “LTIR Pool maximization.”
Calgary’s current cap strategy
Now, in relation to Kylington’s situation, if the Flames were to place him on LTIR at this very moment, they’d halt the process of cap space being accrued, which essentially states that any portion of the LTIR pool which isn’t used would not be able to be used later. Based on the league’s following criteria Kylington has technically been eligible to be placed on the LTIR for a while.
The hold up as to why the Flames haven’t done so revolves completely around the element that while money is placed on LTIR, cap space is no longer accrued, meaning any portion of their LTIR pool not being used wouldn’t be able to be used later. It all revolves around maximizing as much cap space for potential later usage as possible, heading into the trade deadline.
The Flames will definitely receive a clear answer soon in regard to whether or not he’ll be able to return at some point prior to the NHL trade deadline. As we stand, Kylington’s $2,500,000 AAV still counts towards the Flames’ cap hit, however, he does not count against the 23-player roster limit.
As a final disclosure, it should be emphasized that the most important thing behind all of this is that Kylington is okay and that we continue to respect his privacy and wish him all the best.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire