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Tampa Bay Lightning recall forward Erik Condra

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With Brian Boyle a game-time decision for tonight’s call, the Lightning have recalled Erik Condra.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Brian Boyle was a late scratch with an upper-body injury before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. This morning, Joe Smith tweeted that Boyle would again be a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators.

The Lightning have announced that Erik Condra has been recalled from the Syracuse Crunch. We speculated yesterday that Tanner Richard would be a good candidate as a call up to replace Boyle on the fourth line. A community member asked about Condra in comments to that post, and I detailed there some of the pros and cons of Condra verses Richard.

To sum up that conversation, the big pros of Condra are that he is a proven veteran player. He has 353 career NHL games under his belt. He was squeezed out of a roster spot during training camp by the emergence of Brayden Point, as well as Cedric Paquette and J.T. Brown having good training camps. The latter two have played solidly since the beginning on the fourth line along with Boyle. With Condra, you’re also getting a very solid penalty killer.

The down side to recalling Condra is his cap hit. While he was buried in the AHL, he only counted for $300,000 against the cap. With his recall, the Lightning are adding $950,000 worth of cap hit verses Richard’s $575,000 cap hit. The Lightning need to make sure that they leave themselves some room at the end of the year for bonuses that Jonathan Drouin, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Brayden Point may have earned on their entry level contracts.

If the Lightning exceed the cap after paying out those bonuses, any overage will be applied to next years cap. The Lightning could already be looking at quite a cap crunch next summer with a number of restricted free agents up for new contracts, plus raises already set for Victor Hedman and Vasilevskiy.

One upside about calling up Condra is that it will be a chance to showcase him for trade. He has contributed nine points in 13 games for the Syracuse Crunch. With his experience, and with injuries mounting around the league, showcasing him could make him more attractive to other teams in the league for a small trade. Even getting a middle round pick to take him would be a plus for the Lightning. If a trade doesn’t materialize, it’s also possible he could show enough that another team might pick him up if he has to pass through waivers again.

With Boyle still expected to be a game time decision, expect to see Condra skate during warm-ups. We likely will not know until game time if he is in or out. If he’s in, expect him to skate on the wing of the fourth line with Paquette and Brown.

The full press release from the team is below.

LIGHTNING RECALL FORWARD ERIK CONDRA FROM SYRACUSE

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Erik Condra from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Condra, 30, has skated in 13 games with the Crunch this season, posting three goals and nine points to go along with 18 penalty minutes. He scored the game-winning goal for Syracuse on Saturday night with two seconds remaining in regulation time, giving the Crunch the 3-2 victory over the Albany Devils. The Trenton, Michigan native ranks third on Syracuse for points, assists (six) and penalty minutes.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has played in 353 career NHL games, recording 39 goals and 98 points to go along with 170 penalty minutes. Last season was Condra’s first with the Lightning, skating in 54 regular season games while registering six goals and 11 points. He also appeared in three Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Bolts in 2016.

Condra was signed as a free agent by the Lightning on July 1, 2015.