Calgary Flames

What a Jonathan Huberdeau buyout would look like for the Calgary Flames

It’s no secret that Jonathan Huberdeau has not lived up to expectations in Calgary. With 97 games with the Calgary Flames under his belt, Huberdeau has posted downright awful point totals, can’t seem to find any chemistry with any of his linemates, and generally looks like a shell of his Florida self on the ice.

It’s unfathomable that this same player put up 115 points and set the record for the most assists by a left wing in NHL history. He’s not even close to a $10.5M player and hurts the team just as much as he helps them when he jumps over the boards.

Are Huberdeau’s struggles just due to the environment here and could he find success in another market once again? Perhaps, but due to the infinite wisdom of former Flames GM Brad Treliving to give Huberdeau a massive contract along with a no-movement clause, the Flames are hooped. Huberdeau can’t be traded, waived, or moved anywhere other than the NHL roster without his permission.

Conditioning sting for the AHL Calgary Wranglers? Nope. A trade to a Cup contender in the Eastern Conference? Nope. Not allowed under the rules of the CBA unless Huberdeau agrees to waive the NMC.

The Flames only have two options: limit his ice time either by giving him fewer shifts or healthy scratching him or buying him out. The former is already being employed by Ryan Huska as he benched Huberdeau last week, but the latter should also be considered.

Here’s how a Jonathan Huberdeau buyout would look for the Flames. Numbers are from

Huberdeau’s signing bonuses

Contracts become “buyout proof” if they’re laden with large signing bonuses. These bonuses must be paid in full regardless of the buyout, and only the salary portion of a player’s contract is subject to the buyout rules of two-thirds over double the term.

Huberdeau’s contract does have large signing bonuses in every single year:

  • 2024-25: $7M
  • 2025-26: $7M
  • 2026-27: $9.5M
  • 2027-28: $9.5M
  • 2028-29: $7M
  • 2029-30: $9.4M
  • 2030-31: $5M

These totals would be on the cap regardless of the buyout.

Huberdeau’s salary

Where the savings lie are in the salary portion, which are quite small in comparison:

  • 2024-25: $3.5M
  • 2025-26: $3.5M
  • 2026-27: $1M
  • 2027-28: $1M
  • 2028-29: $3.5M
  • 2029-30: $1M
  • 2030-31: $5.5M

The Flames would incur two-thirds of the above salary numbers spread out over double the term of the contract in a buyout situation.

Huberdeau’s cap hit after the buyout

After these calculations, the cap hit for Huberdeau, which is currently at $10.5M, would go down to these amounts:

  • 2024-25: $7.9M
  • 2025-26: $7.9M
  • 2026-27: $10.4M
  • 2027-28: $10.4M
  • 2028-29: $7.9M
  • 2029-30: $10.4M
  • 2030-31: $5.9M
  • 2031-32: $905K
  • 2032-33: $905K
  • 2033-34: $905K
  • 2034-35: $905K
  • 2035-36: $905K
  • 2036-37: $905K
  • 2037-38: $905K

Flames cap savings

And, this results in cap savings of this much in each year:

  • 2024-25: $2.6M
  • 2025-26: $2.6M
  • 2026-27: $95K
  • 2027-28: $95K
  • 2028-29: $2.6M
  • 2029-30: $95K
  • 2030-31: $4.6M
  • 2031-32: -$905K
  • 2032-33: -$905K
  • 2033-34: -$905K
  • 2034-35: -$905K
  • 2035-36: -$905K
  • 2036-37: -$905K
  • 2037-38: -$905K

If the league minimum salary is $800K, the Flames would be saving $1.8M in the first three of five years of the current contract, and actually be paying more to dump Huberdeau’s contract in years three, four, and six.

It’s a very, very expensive decision, however, there are only three years the Flames would really feel the pinch. Outside of that, they’ll get some cap back, and after the 2029–30 season it’s smooth sailing.

Because the signing bonuses are so large, it doesn’t offer much additional value to wait until one or two or three years down the road to complete this buyout. If the Flames want to do it, they should do it at the next available moment which would be this summer.

Calgary is running out of options

This is a very drastic, and costly, move. However, with Huberdeau’s play on the ice, the Flames are running out of options with him. They’ve put him all over the lineup, and tried to get him going in so many different ways, and nothing is working.

Maybe they can try and trade for a player who has worked with him in the past, like Anthony Duclair, but with where his game is at it just doesn’t seem salvageable anymore. A buyout might be the last option they have.

Back to top button