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BriseBois: 'Trade was all about cap flexibility'

Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois spoke to the media on Tuesday following the acquisition of goaltender Mike Condon

by Tampa Bay Lightning

Transcript from Lightning GM Julien BriseBois' conference call after aquiring goaltender Mike Condon from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Ryan Callahan.

Where do we stand with sorting all of this out with the cap and three or four other goaltender signings?
Well today's trade was all about cap flexibility. At the end of the day, one way of looking at it is we traded a player whose cap was going to be $5.8 million for a player who, once we assign him to Syracuse, his cap hit is going to be $1.325 million. This allows us to get under the cap and there are a lot of benefits to not going into long-term injury exemption.

If we had kept Ryan Callahan there was no way around it, we were going to have to go into some long-term injury exemption for him which would have given up some cap flexibility. But the space you have under the long-term injury exemption cap does accrue over the course of the season. That's what you have to play with for the year. You have to have enough flexibility to address some other needs at that point.

The second benefit of getting under the cap is again looking at our situation if we had kept Ryan Callahan and used up the long-term injury exemption, there was no way we would be able to absorb any of this year's bonuses under the cap. They would have been carried forward to the 2020-21 cap and now we're just shoveling our issues forward.

The reality is that I think our cap space will be even tighter a year from now. I think its best to get ahead of these issues and create some flexibility that we can use if there is an opportunity to improve our team at a later point over the course of this season.

Then to address the specifics of your question with all of the goaltenders we have under contract. I know it looks like we've got the goaltender market cornered, but the reality is that this is something that we have to manage, again this is about cap flexibility and it's something that we'll have to continue to look at, but I'd rather be managing too many goalies than not enough. The reality is that the plan stays the same.

Vasilevskiy is our No. 1 goaltender. Curtis McElhinney is our backup in Tampa. We are still working on finding a new organization for Louis Domingue. Scott Wedgewood was signed to be our call up goaltender in Syracuse and we also expect Mike Condin to be there. Mike had a very promising career before it got derailed a little bit by injury.

He is a great prospect and had a good reputation for being a great teammate, a hard worker and a good guy to have around. He's going to be a positive presence in Syracuse. We're definitely going to work with him and hopefully it works out great for him kind of how it worked out for Louis Domingue when he was in Syracuse to rehabilitate his career and get it back on track. Then we'll have some really good options for recalling goaltenders if we ever have injuries in Tampa this season.

You've mentioned before that the goaltender market can be a fickle one in terms of trading or acquiring depending on what the supply and demand is. Could that be challenging even for a guy as good as Louis to find a home when all of the rosters are pretty much full right now or close to it?
Like I said, you're absolutely right, it is fickle, and it changes in a hurry. You can go from no one is looking for goaltenders to three or four teams are looking for goaltenders. I have some ongoing talks with a couple of organizations. Hopefully something pans out this coming week here. If it's not what we want with those organizations maybe someone else will be needing a goaltender. I'm still fairly confident that we'll be able to find a new home for Louis come the start of the season.

Are you still fortunate that you didn't have to trade away any of your prospects or higher picks to go get that (cap) flexibility or did you not think that it was the case where going into the summer this was just a great win-win for you?
Well that's where I have to mention how lucky I am to work for a great owner like Jeff Vinik. There's a financial consideration to this trade. The reality is, with the insurance coverage and reimbursement on salary for Ryan Callahan that Ottawa's going to get, the actual cash cost for Mike Condon that we will have is greater than Ryan Callahan. That's why the appeal for Ottawa. But Jeff's all about winning and when I brought the idea to him and the concept to him, a high draft pick or even any draft pick and not having to give up a prospect or a roster player was important.

That was as good of an outcome as we could expect and again, he was very supportive, and I'd like to thank him for the support, and I feel privileged to work for such a great owner. At the same time, I'd like to thank Ryan Callahan who worked it out to make this trade happen. But also, for all the great years and the service that he provided to the team. The leadership that he brought, the on-ice production and his contribution to the community.

It's amazing for him and his family to give the amounts of money to families that are going through situations with pediatric cancer, and I really appreciate everything that he has done for our organization.

As far as Martin goes, what kind of plans do you have for him versus Fucale?
Obviously when we signed Martin and Scott Wedgewood we did so not knowing that we would be getting another goaltender over the course of the summer. This hadn't been contemplated at the time. So, it's something that will need to be addressed. But these things have a way of being sorted out. I talked with the agents of both goaltenders this morning to make sure everyone is one the same page.

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