Vincent Lecavalier and the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t working out.
He signed a five-year/$22.5 million dollar contract with the Flyers before the 2013-2014 season. Since then, Lecavalier has appeared in 126 games, but has produced only 57 points (28 goals and 29 assists).
This will now be the second offseason in a row that the Flyers are trying to trade Vinny. His contract carries a no-movement clause that he would have to waive and has an annual cap hit of $4.5 million.
Both of these factors are working against the Flyers management. Lecavalier doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia anymore and he’s made that very clear, but he ultimately has final say in any trade discussions because of the no-movement clause.
Vinny Lecavalier confirms he can only be successful here in Philly if Craig Berube is no longer the coach. #FlyersTalk
— John Boruk (@johnborukNBCS) April 13, 2015
Last summer there were rumors the Flyers had two potential trades on the table, until they fell apart at the last minute. It was never revealed why he wasn’t traded, but one has to wonder if he decided the destination wasn’t somewhere he wanted to be.
New Coach – New Lecavalier?
With three years remaining on his contract, Lecavalier doesn’t have to leave Philadelphia if he doesn’t want to. He’s still a talented offensive forward, but it seems that his defensive game has fallen apart during recent seasons.
The Flyers have made one thing very clear, he will not be bought out. So there’s always a chance that he returns to Broad street during the 2015-2016 seasons.
One thing is for sure, he’s no longer a top-line, or even top-six player. He doesn’t have the speed to keep up against tough competition, but if Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol does have Lecavalier’s services next season, he should move him back to center. An aging player’s skills are going to slowly degrade, but asking them to play a different position than they are used to definitely doesn’t help the situation.
He was a healthy scratch 17 times last season and really does not seem to fit in Hakstol’s system.
Who Would Take Lecavalier?
There is probably a very short list of teams that would want the 35-year old forward.
Two types of teams will be on that list, those who need to get to the salary cap floor and those who are looking to move a bad contract of their own.
Teams that have shown interest before include the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Nashville Predators, the Florida Panthers and the Arizona Coyotes.
What are the actual chances that Vinny actually wants to go to one of those clubs? (excluding the Predators)
At this stage in his career, the last thing he’s going to want is to be traded to a rebuilding hockey club. Add on that Lecavalier’s trade value has plummeted after another weak campaign in 2014-2015 and it makes a trade seem very unlikely.
Is Another Option Available?
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz.com showed that there is another option potentially on the table.
Lecavalier is due a $2 million dollar payment from his signing bonus on July 1st, 2015. However, after this payment, the Flyers and Vinny are actually allowed to come to a mutual termination agreement. That means he would lose the remainder of his contract (which includes another payment of $500,000 from his signing bonus due July 1st, 2016) and would become an unrestricted free agent.
If the Flyers can’t find a suitable trade partner, you better believe that this option will be fully explored. They have salary cap issues and getting $4.5 million off their books is the beginning of fixing their cap.
Would Lecavalier actually consider terminating his contract? Only he knows that. However, it’s not like he will be hurting for money as he is still collecting money owed when the Tampa Bay Lightning bought him out before the 2013-2014 season.