The Calgary Flames may have already tipped their cap to their opening night roster.
Today is the last day that players can be put on waivers in order for them to be assigned to the AHL before teams can set their formal opening night rosters. The deadline, set at 3 p.m. MDT tomorrow afternoon, means that players won’t have enough time to execute any additional moves like assignments before then.
A team is able to claim a player on waivers, but that player is then required to be on the team’s opening night roster and be cap-compliant.
The Calgary Flames did not put any players on waiver Sunday afternoon, which means certain players look to be a lock for that roster. Here is how that breaks down:
The candidates for Calgary’s roster
Right now, the Flames have very few roster spot battles left to decide.
In the forward group, Adam Klapka, Cole Schwindt, and Dryden Hunt are all candidates to take on the final fourth line position. While on the backend, Dennis Gilbert, Ilya Solovyov, and Jordan Oesterle are “battling” for the final defence spot.
I put battling quotations because Oesterle is going to be the sixth defenseman, while Gilbert will be the rotating seventh, and Solovyov will most likely be going to the AHL.
Of those players listed, Hunt, and Gilbert all require waivers to be sent to the AHL. Since none were on waivers today, both will be on the opening night roster. Klapka, Schwindt, and Solovyov are all waivers exempt, which means they can be assigned to the AHL at any time should the team need to balance the books tomorrow, but aren’t locks for that opening night group.
It all comes down to dollars.
The Flames’ salary cap situation
In order to be compliant by tomorrow’s deadline, the Flames need to name a minimum of 20 players (or max of 23) and be under the salary cap. Due to injuries, the team is in a much tighter spot than they intended to be when they entered training camp.
Kevin Rooney, and Jakob Pelletier’s injuries will keep them out long-term, so an assignment to LTIR would give the team about ~$2.16M to work with in space and make the most sense. Oliver Kylington’s status remains a question mark, but if the team doesn’t put him on LTIR and just on IR, then his full $2.5M would count towards the salary cap; just like last season.
Therefore, assuming the above. Here is how the roster could shake out (ignoring line combinations):
By assigning Klapka, Schwindt, and Solovyov to the minors, putting Rooney and Pelletier on LTIR, placing Kylington on IR, and keeping Hunt on the roster, the team would be cap-compliant by $25,000.
This is the most likely, and closest scenario, the team is looking at.
Not all said and done
Of course, after opening night, the team can then continue to work with the roster if they end up putting Kylington on LTIR. If they did that, they could recall two additional forwards and play them where they would like. This is probably what they will do in rotating people into combinations that end up clicking.
That being said, this should be the opening night roster for the Flames barring any significant trades no one sees coming.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire