Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning trades Ryan Callahan to free up cap space

Tampa Bay receives goalie Mike Condon from Ottawa and swaps late-round draft picks.
The Lightning traded Ryan Callahan, shown before a March 30 game, to Ottawa after the winger was told he cannot play hockey due to a degenerative disc disease. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
Published Jul. 30
Updated Jul. 30

Julien BriseBois found a way for the Lightning to avoid using long-term injured reserve. The Lightning traded Ryan Callahan to Ottawa for goaltender Mike Condon.

“(This) trade was all about cap flexibility,” BriseBois summed it up. “It allows us to get under the cap.”

This move is about salary cap issues for both teams, with opposite reasons. The Senators need to be above the minimum. The Lightning needs space.

MORE LIGHTNING: $76 million for a goaltender is a good deal when it comes with the Stanley Cup

“I want to thank Ryan Callahan, who worked with us to make this trade happen,” BriseBois said, “and also for the great years of having him on our team.”

Putting Callahan, who can no longer play hockey due to a back disease, on long-term injured reserve would have allowed the Lighting to exceed the salary cap but still had consequences.

The teams also swapped draft picks. Tampa Bay gives up a fifth-round pick in 2020 and gets a sixth-round pick. BriseBois was happy to work out a deal that didn’t require giving up a prospect or a high-round pick to convince a team to take on Callahan’s cap hit.

He said given the insurance on Callahan’s contract, the cash cost of Condon’s $2.4 million is greater than on Callahan’s $5.8 million deal.

Why didn’t the Lightning want to use LTIR?

When BriseBois shared that Callahan would not be able to play anymore, he said he was still looking to move his contract, that using long-term injured reserve wasn’t the ideal solution. It carries use-it-or-lose-it relief.

If the Lightning can come up under the cap without it, the team can bank any space it has for later use. Beyond that, using long-term injured reserve would have meant deferring performance bonuses to the next year’s salary cap. BriseBois expects next year to be even tighter.

MORE SPORTS: Why backup quarterback Kyle Trask didn't leave the Gators

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s extension worth $9.5 million a year kicks in next season. Erik Černák, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Mikhail Sergechev will all come off their entry-level contracts as well.

After the trade, the Lightning, which needs to sign Brayden Point and Adam Erne, has $8.7 million in cap space. BriseBois plans to assign Condon to the AHL and is looking for a trade for Louis Domingue, which would bring the cap space up to $11 million, according to capfriendly.com

BriseBois has ongoing talks with a couple of organizations for Domingue, but the goalie market is always an interesting one. That each team only carries two makes it different than other positions.

What about all the other goalies?

BriseBois joked that the Lightning has cornered the market on goalies with seven in the organization now.

Vasilevskiy is the obvious starter, and BriseBois reiterated that Curtis McElhinney, signed in free agency, will be the backup. He plans on having Condon and Scott Wedgewood in the AHL.

The Lightning still plans on Wedgewood being the third goalie, the first option for a recall in case of an injury. But now Condon would provide a good option as well. Both contracts expire after this season.

Condon’s reputation as a hard worker and good teammate makes BriseBois believe he’ll be a good presence in Syracuse. He had a strong AHL career before his last four years in the NHL. Last year, however, he had a rough start and was sent to the AHL, where he had a hip injury. Condon only played three games total.

MORE LIGHTNING: Five of Andrei Vasilevskiy's best saves

BriseBois suggested this could be an opportunity to rehabilitate his career, as time with the Crunch was for Domingue.

That leaves questions around Spencer Martin and Zach Fucale, the later of whom is on an AHL contract. One could go to the ECHL. BriseBois did not commit to who would be in Orlando, saying the team would find a good spot for all of the goalies, whether in this organization or another.

He spoke with the agents of all of the goalies Tuesday morning to make sure they were on the same page.

“The reality is this is something we will have to manage,” BriseBois said. “This is about cap flexibility. But I’d rather be managing too many goaltenders than not enough.”

Contact Lightning beat writer Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com and follow @dianacnearhos.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The last time the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov missed a game? He sat out two in 2017 on Feb. 28 and March 1. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The star forward won’t be in the lineup against Chicago on Thursday night.
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock reacts as his team plays the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Toronto. NATHAN DENETTE  |  AP
    The struggling Maple Leafs are 9-10-4 this season. Sheldon Keefe, coach of the AHL Toronto Marlies, takes over.
  3. The Lightning were making progress in four good games but turned the puck over too much against St. Louis
  4. Nikita Kucherov left Tuesday's game in the second period but is expected to return to the lineup as soon as Thursday. Tampa Bay Times
    The reigning Hart Trophy winner left Tuesday’s loss to St. Louis after a big hit from Brayden Schenn
  5. St. Louis Blues' Ivan Barbashev looks for a shot past Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman during the second period of an NHL game Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in St. Louis. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    The reigning MVP left the game late in the second period and did not return.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning's Pat Maroon (14) is unable to score past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and Mackenzie MacEachern (28) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in St. Louis. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    Maroon helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season. On Tuesday night in St. Louis, they took what is usually a private ceremony and went public for a hometown hero.
  7. New Jersey Devils' Nico Hischier, right, (13) defends Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos (91) during the second period of a game Oct. 30 in Newark, N.J. FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP
    Stamkos has not missed a game since April 2017.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) before an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tampa Bay’s second-year defenseman is primed to take on an even bigger role.
  9. Long faces dominate some of the remaining Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the fourth quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What remaining game will Tampa Bay be favored to win?
  10. The Lightning hosted 5,000 middle school students at Friday's practice. Courtesy of Everfi
    Slap Shots: Plus, thoughts on the Hockey Hall of Fame, a scary moment in Calgary and Military Appreciation Night.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement