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Burke: Flames are authorized to spend to cap; we just need to find value

Brian Burke

Brian Burke, Calgary Flames’ president of hockey operations, announces the firing of general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod during a NHL hockey news conference Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Calgar, Alberta. Burke will serve as acting general manager. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)


Brian Burke isn’t saying the Calgary Flames are about to go on a spending spree. But what he is saying is that they could. If management so chose.

“You can quote me on this. We are budgeted as a full cap team,” Burke, the Flames’ president of hockey ops, told Sportsnet.

“The only reason we haven’t been a cap team so far is we haven’t seen the value. But the second we do, (general manager) Brad Treliving is authorized to go right to the cap.”

At the moment, the Flames’ cap payroll ranks 29th out of 30 teams, ahead of only Ottawa. Which is to say, they’ve got no shortage of space to add contracts ahead of the March 2 trade deadline.

While big-spending teams like Chicago and Los Angeles got some good news yesterday when the NHL projected next season’s salary cap to rise to $73 million, 1) that’s still just a projection, and it depends on the Canadian dollar not falling significantly lower, and 2) there are still teams that will have to shed salary anyway.

One way the Flames could find “value” would be to target a team that’s desperate to rid itself of an onerous contract, then demand a young player, quality prospect or draft picks be included.

Regardless of what they do with it, financial flexibility is a great thing to have in a cap league like the NHL, and, certainly, Burke’s history shows a willingness to swing creative deals, for better or worse.