It seems Rasmus Andersson’s four-game suspension could have a negative domino effect on the Flames. Aside from missing one of their top defenders (if not their top defender) for the rest of the month, a semi-long-term suspension creates some salary cap issues for a strapped Calgary squad.
Since players suspended by the league still count against the salary cap, Andersson’s $4.55MM cap hit will remain on the books until his return next month. The team has exactly $0 in space left with defenseman Oliver Kylington on LTIR, and they have just six healthy defensemen on the roster, with Jordan Oesterle now set to slide into a bottom-pairing role for the next quartet of games. If another defender is sidelined due to injury, the team may have trouble making a corresponding roster move to dress a full roster. One potential solution would be sliding forward Kevin Rooney from IR to LTIR retroactive to the beginning of the season, but that assumes he will be out for at least the next five games. That’s certainly a distinct possibility, as he carries an unknown return timeline following offseason shoulder surgery. The only other option for the Flames would be to waive forward Dryden Hunt and replace him with a defense call-up from AHL Calgary, but their options would be limited to defenders with a league-minimum cap hit of $775K, the same as Hunt’s.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference tonight:
- St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich is missing his second straight game against the Penguins tonight with an upper-body injury sustained against the Kraken a week ago today. He did, however, rejoin the team at morning skate today, a week into his projected recovery timeframe. Head coach Craig Berube said Buchnevich is “making progress” but that he’ll want to log at least one practice taking full contact before returning to the lineup. He’s likely to travel with the team on their upcoming lengthy road swing. The 28-year-old is yet to record a point this season in two games.
- A pair of Coyotes forwards left today’s win over the Ducks with injuries, headlined by free-agent signing Jason Zucker. Per the team, a lower-body injury prevented him from finishing the contest. Zucker scored one of two Coyotes goals in the 2-1 win and was named the third star of the game. It’s unclear when exactly he sustained the injury, although he could have tweaked something while laying a hit on Ducks forward Benoit-Olivier Groulx (video link). Signed to a one-year contract with a $5MM AAV, the 31-year-old now has two goals in five games but is still looking for his first helper as a Yote.
- The other winger to exit today’s contest was Michael Carcone, who sustained an upper-body injury. He was the recipient of a heavy shoulder check from Ducks defenseman Radko Gudas late in the second period. Last season’s AHL points leader had one goal on the board this season in four contests. If both he and Zucker cannot go for Tuesday’s contest against the Kings, at least one recall will be necessary from AHL Tucson, with Travis Boyd as the only extra forward on the roster.