Jul 2, 2013, 6:55 PM EDT
The Philadelphia Flyers have pulled the first major stunner of free agency.
Five years, $22.5 million, an average annual cap hit of $4.5 million.
The move is wild on a number of fronts.
While those moves did give the Flyers some wiggle room, the Lecavalier deal puts them $300,000 over the cap — though that figure includes Chris Pronger‘s deal ($4.9 million), which will be put on long-term injured reserve.
Of course, that doesn’t put Philly out of the woods.
The club is still looking for a goalie to work alongside Steve Mason, has pressing needs on defense, already expressed an interest in bringing back Simon Gagne and — next season — needs to re-up with key RFAs Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.
(That’s going to prove difficult, considering Philly has $43.5 million committed to 13 players for 2014-15.)
As for Lecavalier, the former Bolts captain ends days of speculation about his playing future with this signing.
He’d already ruled out Detroit and Dallas — two prominent suitors — and, prior to inking in Philly, seemed to be leaning toward either Boston or a return to his hometown province of Quebec and the Canadiens.
The 33-year-old now stands to make a boatload of money over the next half decade. His Tampa Bay buyout will net him $2.3 million annually (over the next 14 seasons) while his new deal with Philly earns a cool $4.5 million per.
What’s more, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Lecavalier’s deal features a full no-movement clause, which will likely keep him in Philly until he’s 38. RDS’ Renaud Lavoie says the deal will play $6 million in salary next year and 2014-15, $4.5 million in 2015-16, and $3 million in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
One more thing to note? Lecavalier carries the exact same cap hit as defenseman Braydon Coburn ($4.5 million), believed to be a trade target for a number of NHL clubs.
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