The Tampa Bay Lightning have used one of their two compliance buyous on legendary center Vincent Lecavalier today, meaning the veteran points machine will be an available free agent as of July 5th.
I know Lecavalier is not as spry as he used to be, but the man scored 32 points (10-22-32) in 39 games played last season, including five PP goals. He is 33 years-old, so it is easy to see him playing for another 2-3 years, at least. I have to admit that I was stunned when I read the news; I understand there’s a business side to hockey, and the Lightning are doing what they feel they need to do in order to continue to remain competitive under the terms of the new CBA. Still, Lecavalier was a huge part of the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup Championship team, and is one of those players that you never imagined would play anywhere but Tampa Bay.
But now that I can imagine it, should we Sabres fans imagine the Buffalo Sabres making a serious attempt to attract this guy to remain in the Northeast Division as a member of the Sabres?
He won’t come cheap, as he has already stated that he is not interested in signing a one-year deal. He will be looking for the sort of deal that will allow him to play until he retires, mch like his contract with the Lightning was designed to allow him to do. Buffalo will have to shell out some dead presidents to get this guy, paying premium dollars for a guy who is past his prime. It’s also worth considering the fact that Lecavalier will want to be on the first line, maybe the second, meaning he will be stealing some time form a prospect like Mikhail Grigorenko, who won’t benefit much from being demoted to the third line (or beyond) as he was this past season.
Still: it’s Vinny Freaking Lecavalier! Barring a major injury, how could he NOT help Buffalo adopt that culture of winning that I have alluded to in past articles?
Time to vote: should the Sabres make signing Lecavalier a top priority? Go!