No cap relief from injury

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

It sounded too good to be true and it is.

Any thought Jarome Iginla's injury, which sent the Flames captain to the sidelines for 11 games, allows the Calgary Flames extra salary-cap space down the road is a fallacy.

The belief Iginla's month on the shelf allows the Flames to exceed the $44 million US salary cap by around $1 million US isn't true, said Michael Holditch, vice president of hockey administration and chief financial officer.

"You don't build up a credit," Holditch said yesterday.

"Crystal clear, Jarome comes back (last night), there's no credit that allows us to get a replacement player later for the time he was injured in the past.

"Because we weren't up against the cap, we didn't apply for long-term status and with him coming back, it's a non-issue."

In the salary-capped NHL, there is a provision to replace injured players when a team's roster reaches the limit. Under the long-term injury provisions, a player who misses or is going to miss 10 games and 24 days can be replaced at the same salary by one or more players.

But that's only when that player is out of action.

"It's not backward-looking to the extent you earn credits during the season when you have guys injured. It's about the now, allowing you to go through the upper limit but by a specified amount," said Holditch, who monitors player expenses on a daily basis.

"That doesn't give you more cap room. It allows you to exceed the cap, if you're up against the upper limit, by the amount of his salary on a per-day basis, that player being the one on LTI."

Currently, the Flames have three injured players who can, or could be, eligible to be placed on that list.

Right-winger Darren McCarty has been out since Dec. 27, had surgery for a sports hernia and may return before the regular season ends. Right-winger Chuck Kobasew suffered a fractured elbow in Jan. 26 game, which the team said should keep him out a month.

Defenceman Richie Regehr is out with a concussion and has an indefinite return date. With the club's current roster, which includes those three injured players, the team is on pace for salary cap charges of slightly more than $42 million. Should the Flames acquire one or more players and be pushed to the upper limit of the salary cap, they'll then only be able to add salary for those out of the lineup.

It's at that point they could add a player with the help of the LTI provision, keeping in mind the replacement couldn't remain on the roster after an injured player returned unless there is someone else out of the lineup.

"What, essentially, it's designed to do, is say, 'but for guys who are on long-term injury, you're at the cap,' " Holditch said.

"It's actually designed to be neutral. When you have a player that's injured, it's designed to let you bring a player up to replace him, just while he's injured.

"It's actually the purest form of fair because you're not getting a credit to use later, it's for here and now. You can replace up to this value of player while he's hurt. The second he's (healthy), the replacement has to go away."


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