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Lecavalier admits he’s thought about being bought out

Jun 18, 2013, 8:38 PM EDT

Vincent Lecavalier Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vinny Lecavalier is a solid forward, but at the age of 33 he’s not the superstar he once was. That’s a problem for the Tampa Bay Lightning, given that he’s costing them $7,727,273 annually in cap space and will continue to do so through the 2019-20 campaign.

With that in mind, it might not be unreasonable for the Lightning to exercise one of their compliance buyouts on Lecavalier.

“It’s obviously something you think about,” Lecavalier told the Tampa Bay Times. “At the same time, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

The Lightning are coming off a disastrous year where they posted a 18-26-4 and they don’t have the cap space to make significant additions without getting rid of someone.

“We understand this is a difficult contract,” Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes said. “There’s nothing we can do to change that on our end given the restrictions incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.”

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was vague when asked about the possibility, stating, “As an organization, we sit and debate everything.”

Tampa Bay might opt to make a relatively smaller move and buy out forward Ryan Malone‘s contract. Malone comes with a $4.5 million cap hit and recorded just eight points in 24 games in 2013.

It’s also worth adding that even though compliance buyouts completely remove a player from the salary cap, they are not free. The Lightning would still have to pay $30 million over 14 years to not play for them. By contrast, Malone would cost them a total of $3.35 million, spread out over four years.

  1. matthews4 - Jun 18, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    It was my understanding that the” buyout money” essentially comes from the players share of revenue. Was it not incorporated with that strange “make whole” process? It is sad for Vinny but he was never quite the same after Matt Cooke. He does great things in the Tampa community and would be deeply missed.

  2. kingsforever - Jun 18, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Just get it over with Yzerman and free the man

  3. 19to77 - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Buying out Lecavalier would cost a relatively low-earning franchise a lot of money over a long time all to buy the priviledge of him going somewhere else. Buyouts make sense for guys with only a couple of years left, but on long-term deals like Lecavalier’s or Bryzgalov’s, they lose their lustre fast.

    On the other hand… Vinny might actually be the most overpaid forward in the NHL today and still has SEVEN YEARS left on that contract, during which time he will age and decline even more. Sooner or later, something has to give. There’s no way they keep him for the remaining seven years at over $40 million left to pay out.

    • letsgolightning - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      Talk about a rock and hard place… Pay him $30mil over 14 years to go play somewhere else- or pay him $45mil over 7 years to play for you and destroy your cap. I don’t envy Yzerman this decision. I’d much prefer we throw in some cash or cap space and get him traded elsewhere.

      I love what he does for the community, and he’s good – but he’s nowhere near good enough to justify earning $10mil this year alone.

      • 19to77 - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:05 AM

        And 2013-14. And ’14-’15. And ’15’-16′. And $8.5 million in 2016-17.

        Jesus. And people say Luongo’s contract is bad.

  4. martysbetter - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Another potentially great career mitigated by Matt Cooke – Vinny was one of my favorite non-Devil players to watch before his injury.

    • hockey412 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      That is quite literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Now Cooke is to blame for the lack of production of a guy that is still playing? You’re talking about a dislocated shoulder from 2007/2008. I think it’s had time to heal.

  5. esracerx46 - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    I have a feeling rather than buy out Vinny, the Lightning would be better off trading him and eating a portion of his salary. Owners aren’t keen on paying a player without getting something in return……and cap space is not what I mean.

    • stakex - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      Cap space is a very valuable commodity in the NHL these days though, and most GMs/owners are willing to pay top dollar to get it.

      If the Lightning want to get rid of Lecavalier, its because they are right up against the cap and have a mountain of issues that need to be fixed. Can’t fix problems without cap space. There is little doubt that Lecavalier has some trade value, but the Lightning will probably need to eat between $2-3.9 (can only retain half) million of his salary… which is a lot dead cap space for a team with so little.

      Perhaps there is a team out there that would take on the vast majority, or all, of Lecavalier’s contract. He is still a good player after all, but that seems unlikely for the same reason the Lightning might want to get rid of him.

  6. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    Bad contract for the owner, hell of a contract for the player. Bet Montreal’s GM is druling at the thought of a potential buyout. If it happens you can expect to see Vinny in a Habs jersey next season.

  7. roundeye11roundeye11 - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    Seems like Lecavalier does have a choice and it might be in his hands: renegotiate that contract downward. Certainly it would involve financial sacrifice but realistically, would it affect the way he lives his life? He could become a rich NHL vagabond if he leaves things alone or he could become a rich veteran cornerstone of a rebuilding franchise with Stamkos. Maybe toss in a no-trade clause if the rules permit. Seems a very reasonable alternative to viewing yourself as a mere victim of whatever Yzerman decides to do. Too bad the previous Lightning regime were such abject pudknockers….

    • mathieug79 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      you can’t renegotiate any NHL contract! you can’t buy someone out and sign them afterwards. So your idea will NOT happen!

  8. matthews4 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Actually injuries that concern the Labrum can literally last forever. It is tissue damage that can be repaired to alleviate discomfort or pain, however since the primary function is to create smooth movement in the shoulder in a lot of cases full torque and power may NEVER return. Now obviously we don’t have an MRI on Vinny to determine which kind of tear he had but to state that it unequivocally “had time to heal” is quite literally the dumbest thing I’ve heard. As people get older and the body breaks down past injuries become more significant not less. BTW just so you know and don’t treat me like the village idiot I speak to orthopedic surgeons almost on a daily basis……. so yeah.

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