Report: Flames won’t spend to the cap ceiling next season

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The Calgary Flames haven’t been that far from the playoffs despite missing the postseason for three straight years, but that’s little solace to fans – especially since management is paying them like an elite club. Roger Millions passes along an intriguing detail, though: it sounds like the Flames’ days of spending to the cap are over.

To be more specific, Millions expects the Flames’ budget to be around $55 million, which would be about $15 million less than the expected cap ceiling if the CBA doesn’t alter the cap. Either way, it sounds like the Flames’ spending will be reined in quite a bit.

Get rid of Kipper, Iggy or Bouwmeester?

According to Capgeek, the Flames currently have about $50.3 million committed to the cap next season, with 16 players covered. Millions and Kent Wilson believe that one or more of big-money players Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester might need to go to make things work.

Perhaps to little surprise, Millions tabbed Bouwmeester as the odd man out, although one could argue that the Flames would be wiser to move Iginla because he might draw a better deal – particularly for a Flames team that still seems to be in “rebuild denial.” Bouwmeester’s disappointing offensive numbers and $6.68 million cap hit probably won’t attract half the attention as Iginla; Bouwmeester (28) is also considerably younger than Iginla (34).

Iginla has one more year left with a $7 million cap hit while Bouwmeester and Kiprusoff’s ($5.8M cap hit) deals run out after the 2013-14 season.

The rest of the moves

Either way, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for GM Jay Feaster. The team can call up some minor league players/prospects to fill some roster spots cheaply, yet that’s not likely to jive well with their stated plans. Here’s a quick list of their pending free agents:

Unrestricted

Olli Jokinen
Lee Stempniak
David Moss
Tom Kostopoulos
Cory Sarich
Scott Hannan

Restricted

Blake Comeau
Mikael Backlund
Akim Aliu
Blair Jones

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If you were in Feaster’s shoes, would you trade one (or more) of the bigger name players on the team? Would you instead try to get rid of a bigger salary eyesore like, say, Matt Stajan? Or would you blow the whole thing up?

Share your armchair management plan in the comments if you feel the need.

(H/T to Arik Knapp.)