The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced they will buy out the remainder of Vincent Lecavalier’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 5.

Lightning to buy out Vincent Lecavalier.

Lightning to buy out Vincent Lecavalier.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a move the Lightning front office wants to make, but they really had no choice. Lecavalier’s contract (seven years remaining at a cap hit of over $7.727 million per season) was simply too restrictive for a club which had less than $3 million in available cap space and in dire need of improvement throughout the roster.

Under the rules of compliance buyout, it’ll cost two-third the remaining value over twice the remaining term, but it won’t count against the Bolts salary cap. Lecavalier also cannot re-sign with the Lighting for one full year from the date of his buyout.

It’s possible he could sign a one-year deal with another team and then return to Tampa Bay next summer, but I daresay interested teams will want a longer commitment from Lecavalier. Given his age, injury history and declining production, Lecavalier won’t get top dollar anymore, but he will attract considerable interest from teams seeking a second line center. Already, there’s early speculation linking him to the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.

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12 Responses to Lightning to Buy Out Lecavalier.

  1. Innovator says:

    Detroit could be a good fit.

  2. Brandon says:

    How much is he going to ask for? He or Richards if bought out could end up being the leagues highest paid players on annual basis based on combined incomes from the 2 salaries.

    If he as for 2-3 mill annually he can pick and choose where he goes. The sad part is he really enjoyed TB and would have probably restructured his deal if he could stay.

  3. Paddy says:

    Again, I’m no Leafs fan (wishful or otherwise), but I think Toronto will be one of the teams bidding on Lecavalier up to the very ened, and may very well overpay to make sure they get him. How long have they said they needed a big centre? And here’s one they don’t have to trade any assets for!

    Other teams will of course be in the mix, but I think the Leafs would be the most likely to open the vault, and so they’d get him.

    I don’t see my Habs getting him at all. Lecavalier has been linked to Montreal for forever, and never shown any public interest or intent. I also can’t figure out where he’d slot into the lineup. At centre, we have Desharnais, Plekanec & Eller as the top 3, and those guys are interchangeable as to who is 1st-2nd-3rd line centre right now.

    Lecavalier might be better than all 3, but it doesn’t answer what the Habs would do with that logjam in the middle? Trade Desharnais, possibly, but for what? They need to think about what would make their team better overall. Desharnais and a big winger, or Lecavalier and whatever draft pick Desharnais would get? (just as theoretical examples)

    • Habsfan1 says:

      Do not forget Galchenyk. Dallas is look for depth a centre, maybe they take DD for a Third? I agree though, Lecavalier does not fit with Montreal, it is a knee jerk reaction to link him to Mtl. Jäger however is a better fit as would Malone, but those two are still stretches….

    • Brandon says:

      I am a Leafs fan and think he would be a great fit, but I don’t think more salary is going to persuade him when he is already making 7mill per year in buyout money.

    • Dabroons says:

      He’d look good setting up Kessel and either Lupul or JVR.

  4. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Or he could sit out a year. Or two. With a $2MM paycheck for 14 years, his options don’t include a requirement to play. There aren’t many places with as relaxed an environment
    re: professional atheletes as Tampa. Here he has a life. Can walk the streets, take his family to dinner, press is small and gentle with lots of love left from 2004.

    A bought out player is in a different place than someone who has played out his time, and is looking for money and/or a new situation. We don’t have much experience with this.

  5. Peter says:

    Lecavalier is better than Desharnais, who is tiny like Koivu was and all the other small centers they have tried previously. However, I doubt Vinny wants the pressure, high taxes, and lousy weather that a Habs gig would entail.

    • Paddy says:

      Oh yeah, I think Lecavalier is probably better than all 3 guys, really. It’s more about fitting people into the structure. As Habsfan1 suggests up top, DD for a 3rd is probably fair, maybe even a 2nd. But does that 3rd + Lecavalier make us a better team than DD + a different player?

      But all that said, I completely agree with you: for a variety of reasons, I don’t think Lecavalier would choose to come to Montreal himself, either.

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