Some news came out last week regarding the Brayden Point and Tampa Bay Lightning contract situation. It wasn’t great news, but it wasn’t the worst news. Negotiations are ongoing, but the sides seem a little ways apart. Point’s agent did mention that they’re still talking, which is something that always seems a little strange. What exactly do they talk about? The conversations can’t be that long. One side says a number, the other counters. Chit chat about throwing in a free suite per game, a no-trade clause, or a hotel suite on the road and you’re good to go.
Knowing that there would be some negotiations this summer we at Raw Charge took a chance. Using the same sources we did last year to obtain John Tavares’ phone number we were able to plant a listening device in Julien BriseBois’s cell phone*. Sadly, our mole wasn’t able to plant a bug in his office or on his desk phone so we might have missed some conversations. What follows is a transcript of several phone calls we were able to record.**
June 30: 5:42am
GJ: Hello, this is Gerry.
JBB: Gerry, hey, it’s Julien BriseBois. I figured I’d call on my cell instead of the office phone since we’ll be talking a bit through the summer.
GJ: Yeah, thanks. It’s awful early, though.
JBB: I know. Just got done with a two-hour workout. It’s going to be a busy couple of days, don’t want to waste any time. I just wanted to let you know that your client it one of our top priorities this summer. He’s a big part of our success and I want you to know that we think he’s part of the core group of players that are going to take the Lightning to the next level.
GJ: That’s great. I think we’re on the same page. My guy really wants to be in Tampa for as long as possible.
JBB: Let me get through tomorrow, we have some holes to fill as you know. Once we finish up these deals I’ll know where we stand in regards to what we can offer. Let’s circle back and set up a face-to-face in mid-July, ok?
GJ: Yeah, it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. A bunch of my other clients are hitting me up as well. Looks like neither one of us are getting any sleep for the next two days. We’ll have the paperwork on Coburn back to you by the end of business tomorrow. He’s happy to be sticking with the team.
JBB: Excellent, we’re glad to have him back as well. Talk to you later.
July 21st: 8:52am
JBB: It’s Julien, how can I help?
GJ: Hey, Julien. It’s Gerry, just following up on our meeting from last week. You said you were going to call.
JBB: Oh yeah, sorry about that. Got a little tied up with things. I just realized we have a lot of goaltenders on our roster.
GJ: Yeah, but what you don’t have currently is a first-line center capable of 40 goals and 90 points.
JBB: Actually we do. His name is Steven Stamkos.
GJ: Shoot, you’re right. What I meant was a first-line center capable of 40 goals and 90 points who is only 23 years old.
JBB: Ya got me there, although if we put Tony Cirelli in the right situation, you never know.
GJ: Will ya stop kidding around? Don’t you think the powerpoint slide with “No State Taxes” thing wasn’t enough? I talked with Pat Brisson, I know Yzerman used that last year with Tavares.
JBB: Alright, ya got me. Look. We have some wiggle room with the numbers. After that deal with Ottawa our cap is a lot clearer. However, without knowing if we’re going to have a CBA in a year we don’t want to put ourselves in a situation where we have to buy someone out. So we’re thinking a bridge deal.
GJ: Hey, that works for us as well.
JBB: Oh by the way, I never got the chance to personally thank you for cutting off all that offer sheet from Montreal nonsense before it got out of hand. I mean it was a crazy low sheet that we would have matched in a heartbeat, but still.
GJ: No problem. Montreal is a great city, but my client really likes the beach. So the offer?
JBB: We’re thinking three years at….$5.7 million per.
GJ: *Flabbergasted silence*
JBB: Yeah, I know. That’s a huge raise over what he was making.
GJ: That’s a good one. I see you’re in quite the joking mood today. No one told me you were this funny. We turned down $8.4 for five years from Montreal and you offer us $5.7? You literally just said you would have matched that offer in a heartbeat.
JBB: I know. Man, it’s kind of a shame you didn’t put me in that position. C’mon, someone had to throw the first number out there. Let’s bat this thing around a little. I serve, you volley, then I crush a forehand winner.
GJ: For a bridge deal. We’re thinking three years $7.9 million per year. That’s less than the offer sheet, but with the state tax thing everyone harps on, it’s still a good deal for my guy. I checked CapFriendly — you can afford it now and it still gives you some room.
JBB: Alright, excellent volley. What were you thinking if we go long term?
GJ: Glad you asked. Rumor on the RFA market is that Mitch Marner is looking for around $10-11 million a year. We think, even with the Florida discount, we should be around the same number.
JBB: You do, do you?
GJ: Yes we do.
JBB: Good to know. You’ve given me some excellent things to think about today. I’m not saying we’re close, but we’re at least playing the same sport in the same ballpark. Let me talk to the boss and get back to you.
August 15th: 10:34 am
JBB: Gerry, it’s been awhile. How are things going?
GJ: Oh, you know. Spent some time at the cottage. Hung out with the family. Nothing too crazy. How’s your summer going?
JBB: Same ol’ kind of thing. Working out. Negotiating the cap. Hanging out with the kids.
GJ: Speaking of the cap. I just wanted to check in with you and see how things are going now that free agency has pretty much settled down. Looks like you got your defense done. Good job on that Shattenkirk signing. That’s a steal.
JBB: Thanks. Coming from an agent I really appreciate the compliment. I guess you want to talk about your client.
GJ: Yeah, we’d really like to get this wrapped up before the season starts. We don’t want it to linger. I’m sure you can appreciate that. Look, we’re open to whatever works best. If it’s a bridge deal or long term we can handle either.
JBB: That’s great. We’re still looking at some internal things, but I really think we can work something out without a problem. We like your guy, he really fits in with what we’re doing.
GJ: Great, ‘cause he wants to stay in Tampa. He likes it there. Can’t beat the talent he’s surrounded with either.
JBB: Ain’t that the truth. Man, we are a good team. Just need to get over the hump in the playoffs. What did your guy have against Columbus? 1 goal? Minus 5? Those don’t sound like $11 million numbers to me.
GJ: *Awkward silence*
JBB: I’m just kidding with ya. Everyone kind of spit the bit that week, right?
GJ: This isn’t a joke. Your team is a lot worse without my guy on it. We’ve got our number and we may be willing to entertain other offers, but you gotta be realistic. We’re not settling for some bogus under $6 million offer for one year or three years. Get with your guys and come up with a real offer.
JBB: Look, I can tell you’re serious about this. So are we. We don’t want any bad blood here. Let’s meet in person to talk about this. I gotta go, my other line is ringing. I think it’s Benny Hankinson calling me back. We may be adding some Stanley Cup experience. Keep your fingers crossed. Bye!
September 13th: 5:55pm
JBB: Jerry, I was expecting a call from you today. What’s up?
GJ: I’m guessing you saw the Marner news, right?
JBB: Actually, it was a pretty heavy gym day. Haven’t checked the news yet.
GJ: Are you kidding? The first domino has fallen. Marner - 6 years, almost $11 million per. That’s a pretty good comparable I think.
JBB: Really? Wow, that’s great for him. I wonder what the first thing he’s going to buy with that deal. Hopefully, he invests some of it. Maybe Jeff V. will help him out. He’s gotten back into the market ya know.
GJ: Can we just talk about my client for a moment. I honestly think $11 million over 8 years is perfectly reasonable based on what we’ve seen other players sign. I know it makes things a little tight this year, but I figure you can make it work. Trade one of the 34 goaltenders on you roster.
JBB: Hey, I got a plan for all of those goalies. I suppose you want a no trade clause with this contract as well?
GJ: Of course, I think that’s pretty standard.
JBB: You realize that at $11 million a year, that’s like $19 million a year once you adjust for the tax situation in Florida, right?
GJ: I don’t think that’s right.
JBB: No it’s right.
GJ: Seems a little high.
JBB: You’re a little high.
GJ: So, would you at least think about it?
JBB: Yeah, I’ll think about it. *rustling noise, and the next part is muffled as if JBB covered the phone receiver* “I’m not going to think about it.”
GJ: What was that? Is there someone else in the office?
JBB: Oh, sorry. I was just ordering dinner.
GJ: Camp is almost under way. My client is in shape and ready to join the team. You just have to make us a reasonable offer and the whole gang is back together and ready to win a Stanley Cup.
JBB: I gotta go, Serg’s agent is on the other line. Something about wanting to get an extension done early. He doesn’t like all the RFA drama. Speaking of that. Good job getting Morrissey wrapped up early. You’re setting yourself up for an easy summer next year, huh?
GJ: Thanks, I guess. Bye.
September 13th: 6:20pm
Jeff Vinnik: Hey Breeze, how did it go?
JBB: About as expected. He still wants Marner money.
JV: Can we afford that?
JBB: We’d have to shuffle things around, probably give up a goalie or two. As long as you’re happy cutting the check, but I think I can get things a little lower. I don’t believe they have a plan B.
JV: No Swedish teams lined up?
JBB: From what I’m hearing, no. Oh, and I think Marner may call you for some investing advice.
JV: Does that violate the cap or the CBA?
JBB: Who knows? So much fine print in those documents.
JV: So where do you think we end up?
JBB: Honestly, probably a bridge deal, 3 years, $8 to $8.5 million maybe. Gives him a chance to cut a new deal with the new CBA. Gives us a little time to clear some other deals out and keep some of the young kids around. Might have to trade Sergachev next year, though.
JV: That’ll hurt in the media.
JBB: Yeah, but we should be able to get a bundle for him. Look, the fact is, we hold almost all of the cards in this game. His only option is to have his client sit out and we all saw how well that went last year with WIllie Nylander. Would not having him in the line-up hurt? Of course, but I still think we have a pretty good team even if he misses a couple of weeks of the season. He’s been lucky so far that this is Tampa and more people are worried about if Jameis Winston can complete more than two passes in a game then having one of the best players in Lightning history hold out.
JV: Alright, I’m trusting you on this.
JBB: Don’t worry, it’ll work out. Just like it did with Kuch a couple of years ago. We got him a decent deal and he had the option of heading back to Russia to make millions of dollars. I don’t think that’s going to happen in this case.
JV: OK. Just keep me posted.
JBB: Yes, sir.
September 16th: 1:46pm
JBB: Jerry, always a pleasure to hear from you.It was great seeing you last month. I think we got some stuff accomplished. Sorry, we haven’t gotten back to you since then.
GJ: Julien, no worries. I know it’s busy. Pat Maroon, huh? That’s some good old fashioned grit and size right there, but he’s not gonna get you forty goals, right? By the way, did you see on Twitter some guy with 26 followers thinks it would be nice if we agreed on a contract today for his birthday. Whatta think?
JBB: I think if you’ll take $5.7 million over 3 years it’ll be a happy birthday for that lunatic.
GJ: Aww man...you’re still stuck on that number?
JBB: *long intimidating silence*
GJ: Are you doing that thing where the next person that talks loses?
JBB: *More silence*
GJ: My client is your top center. He put up 91 points last year. He has been the best bargain by far for at least the last two seasons. It’s time he got paid. He’s not even in his prime yet, he’s only going to get better. I’d have the player’s association all over me if I let him sign for that.
JBB: OK. OK. How about a three year deal at…..
JBB: $5.9 million a year?
GJ: *Sighs audibly*
JBB: Hey, it’s progress, right? Next time don’t let those initial numbers get out to the public. Look, I’ve got to go watch practice. I have to make sure they covered Louis Domingue in bubble wrap so he doesn’t get hurt. Talk later this week?
GJ: Sure, why not.
September 18th: 12:45PM
JBB: Hey Jerry. What’s up?
GJ: Not much. You going to give us $11.1 over 8 years?
September 22nd: 8:00AM
JBB: Jerry, what is up, my friend?
GJ: Alright, it’s time to talk serious. My client can be ready for game play in a week, so if we hammer something out tonight I think it works for both of us. Plus I hear Raw Charge is getting ready to publish something so we can make in obsolete within five minutes.
JBB: Yeah, I really like Mitch Stephens but I don’t think I’m ready for him to center our top line. We’re really tied up capwise for this year so let’s talk bridge deal.
GJ: We’re thinking $7.5 per year for three years.
JBB: Hmm. We’re thinking more around $6 million for the same time.
GJ: How about $6.7 per year and you buy us dinner next time I’m in town?
JBB: McDonalds or Berns?
GJ: Two dinners at Bern’s and a $50 gift card to Chik-Fil-a.
JBB: Popeye’s chicken sandwich is better.
GJ: Don’t start.
JBB: OK. Works for me.
*No we didn’t.
** Seriously, we can not stress enough that this did not happen.