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Lecavalier caught off guard by buyout, ready for a new challenge

Jun 27, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

Vincent Lecavalier AP

Vincent Lecavalier doesn’t have any hard feelings about being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On his conference call to speak about what went down this morning, the former Lightning captain says a buyout was something he knew could happen but still caught him off guard.

“I was at the table with the family having breakfast and my phone rang and it was Steve (Yzerman),” he said. “It turned out they were buying me out… It’s tough. It’s tough when you’ve been at it for so long and you’ve been through so much in one place and where this organization is going. It’s very hard.”

That’s a good way to spoil your bacon and eggs. Getting paid $32 million to move on to another city is a better way to feel OK with that. Lecavalier welcomes the challenge.

“It’s a tough day but at the same time, I know I’m going to be somewhere else it’s going to be a different challenge but I’m so motivated to go somewhere else and prove I can play at a high level. I believe in myself, I believe in what I can bring to a team. I want to win.”

As for where that next challenge will be, he says he’s ready for anything. When asked about the possibility of playing in Detroit, he had an awkward confession to make.

“It’s actually a team I grew up idolizing. Them and Montreal were my favorite teams. Ironically, Steve Yzerman was my favorite hockey player,” he said.

“My door is open to everybody. I haven’t really made a list yet. I’m really open to anything. I haven’t pinpointed anywhere I wanted to go. It’s been five hours (since the buyout) and I’m still not there yet.”

The line forms to the left for 29 other GMs looking for a guy who’s been a consistent scorer throughout his career.

Related: Timeline: The Lecavalier Era in Tampa Bay

  1. brotherlove2012 - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Just wtch themadness in Montreal begin … It’ll be epic!

    • rainyday56 - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Vinnie will be Montreal’s Sundin, helplessly watching him sign with the Tortorella Canucks who will move mountains to secure a true 2nd line center, just watch.

      • 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Uh. Ryan Kesler ring a bell?

  2. packerswin96 - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    How could he be caught off guard by the buyout? Hope he signs with the Habs at a decent price of course.

  3. 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    But has he been a consistent scorer, really? He hit a peak of 40+ goals and 90+ points five years ago. And in the years since, his peak in goals was 29 and in points, 70. He logged 54 and 49 in the last two full seasons and missed nine games this year and 18+ in each of the two before that. He wouldn’t have done much better if this were a full season either – 10 goals in 39 games works out to only 18 goals if this were a full season and he were healthy the rest of the time – which is pretty optimistic for a guy who’s missed that much time in the last two.

    I like Lecavalier, but let’s not pretend his numbers haven’t been dropping every year since 2009-10. He’s also very injury-prone.

    • challer9 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Come on now, it’s not like he’s playing like an older Chris Drury or Scott Gomez (trust me I know, I’m a Rangers fan). Since his 40 goal season he’s averaged just under 29 goals per 82 games played and 42 assists per 82 games played. You can’t act as if not being healthy and a big drop in production are two separate issues. Of course these players decline in skill as they get older, but I’d take Vinny any day on the Rangers.

  4. steelpenbucs87 - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    I may be trying to read tea leaves a bit too much here, but I wonder if this opens the door for other buyouts. Cutting ties with your captain and one of the most notable players on your team (Stamkos and St. Louis not withstanding) it kind of sends the message to the other GMs.

    • stakex - Jun 27, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Its all business. If a buyout is best for the team, GM’s shouldn’t need to see other teams take the plunge first. If they do, then they have no business being a GM.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        I don’t disagree that they SHOULD be able to pull the trigger on a buyout if it makes fiscal sense, but for some of the smaller market teams who’s fanbases are tied to the guy you think about buying out, you may think twice because of the fan backlash. The GMs job is to create a winning team, but the Owners are also trying to make money.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Columbus ( I’m just hoping )

  6. ray2013 - Jun 27, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    This interests me more than the Bickell situation. To me, Bickell should be taking the max money he can get, because he’s only got a few contracts left to make his post-hockey money. But for Lecavalier, the Lightning are playing him $32 million to play somewhere else.

    So does he pick a new team based on the perceived chance to win, or does he sign the biggest offer? Do you take max money and sign with a non-playoff team, or do you take closer to a veteran’s minimum to sign with a favorite to win it all next season?

  7. philk0731 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Torts will snatch him up in Vancouver

    • pens919209 - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      He will? Someone might want to let Mike Gillis know that Tortarella has taken over the GM job, eh?

  8. LampyB - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Sorry guys no chance he goes to vancouver. Its a pipe dream. Both detroit and montreal are realistic options. Detroit is sitting on a full house right now, tons of options.

  9. spitfisher - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Doesn’t he shoot from the same side as Horton, don’t rule out Boston

    • bruins18 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM


      • bruins18 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        I would get rid of Horton for lecavelier all day he just got bought out for $32mill so he’s not gonna be looking for a huge pay day either

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      No thanks. First off, he’s a career center man, if you want proof sliding players around doesn’t work late in their carerr see Iginla.

      He’s also injury-prone and nowhere near as productive as the media pretends he is.

      The Bruins have very limited cap room, especially long-term with several young players to sign to extensions.

  10. indianhead1992 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    where are the pens fans saying “he is a good fit for our team”?

  11. bufffalojoe - Jun 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Buffalo needs another center

  12. LampyB - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Dude they have Stamkos and St Louis, who cares about lecavalier from the fans point. Plenty of others to love on the team. If people backlash because of vinny leaving the team has a lot more to worry about.

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