May 23, 2011, 10:00 PM EDT
A lot of people want to see Vincent Lecavalier return to the form that made him a 108-point player in 2006-07 and a 92-point guy in 07-08. The Tampa Bay Lightning might rank on top of that list considering the staggering amount of money* they’ll pay him through 2019-20 (barring a trade or retirement).
It seems like the true Lecavalier is the one we’ve seen during the last few years, though. Injuries shortened his 2010-11 regular season, but his 54 points in 65 games followed the pace he achieved during healthier seasons in 09-10 (70 points) and 08-09 (67 points).
Such productivity might be unsatisfying considering his enormous pay checks – especially after Steven Stamkos gets a huge raise this summer as a restricted free agent – but the team’s patience with Lecavalier is paying off in the 2011 playoffs. The large, talented captain of the Bolts is tied with his teammate Martin St. Louis and two other players for second place in playoff points with 17 in 15 games played.
That’s the kind of output you hope to see from your highly paid captain in the games that matter the most. Honestly, these impressive results are reminiscent of the kind of run Lecavalier, St. Louis and the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Lightning produced seven years ago. Tampa Bay’s franchise has gone through some serious lows since then, with Lecavalier feeling some serious heat in that span.
Those bitter moments probably make the triumphant times that much sweeter, though. Lecavalier discusses his journey in the video below.
* – Lecavalier’s contract calls for a $10 million annual salary through 2015-16, followed by $8.5 million in 16-17, $4 million in 17-18, $1.5 million in 18-19 and $1 million in 19-20. Yikes.
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