Updates on UFA defensemen Cody Franson and Christian Ehrhoff, plus the impact to the Flames payroll of re-signing Mark Giordano.
Sabres pursuing Franson?
WKBW.COM: reports the Buffalo Sabres are one of three teams pursuing UFA defenseman Cody Franson. The Sabres are interested in acquiring a top-four left-handed defenseman, but Franson is a right-handed shot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps at this stage, the Sabres are simply seeking experience for their top-two defense pairings.
Ehrhoff will accept a one-year contract.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports agent Rick Curran, who represents defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, claims his client will accept a one-year contract. Despite Ehrhoff’s concussion history, Curran claims there’s “continued serious interest” in the German blueliner, as well as in UFA winger Jiri Tlusty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brough points out, given Ehrhoff’s injury history, a one-year deal likely the best he’s going to get.
Impact of a new contract for Giordano upon Flames’ salary cap.
NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun speculates re-signing captain Mark Giordano could have a significant effect upon the Calgary Flames’ salary-cap payroll. It’s rumored the 31-year-old Giordano seeks $9 million annually. Combined with the recent acquisition and signing of Dougie Hamilton (six years, $34.5 million), it could impact their efforts to re-sign winger Jiri Hudler, who’s also a UFA next summer, as well as new contracts for rising young stars Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Dadoun wonders if that could force the Flames to trade veteran blueliner Dennis Wideman ($5.25 million) to free up cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also worth noting the Flames reached the playoffs and upset the Vancouver Canucks without Giordano in the lineup. While his presence certainly makes them a better team, I see Hamilton as a potential replacement for Giordano if the Flames are unable to re-sign him. If they do keep him, $9 million annually will take a huge bite out of their cap space, which could force them to move out someone like Wideman.
Currently, the Flames have over $37.4 million invested in 10 players for 2016-17, so they can afford a big raise for their captain. However, Hudler and the underrated Kris Russell are also UFAs, while Monahan, Gaudreau, Joe Colborne and Markus Granlund are restricted free agents. All will seek substantial raises. They’ll also need to re-sign or replace goalies Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo. A $9 million annual cap hit for Giordano will affect their efforts to retain those players. It’ll be very interesting to see how Flames’ management handles this.