The free-agent frenzy began when the Lightning used one of their two cap-compliance buyouts on Lecavalier, per Adam Gretz of CBS Sports, and erased his $7.73 million contract from the books, via CapGeek.
5 years, $4.5 per for Vinny in Philly confirmed.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2013
Lecavalier signed an 11-year extension with Tampa Bay before the 2009-10 season, and while his contract will no longer count against the salary cap, the franchise still owes the veteran player $32 million total over the next seven seasons, per Gretz.
Now that Lecavalier is off the market, it’s time for the longtime player to refocus his energy on the ice and use this change of scenery as a rebirth. While he is not the same star that led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004, there is no questioning what he can add to a franchise.
Not only has Lecavalier remained one of the best offensive forwards in the league—scoring 20-plus goals in 12 of the last 13 seasons and adding a power-forward presence on the power play—he is still one of the most effective forecheckers around.
Was this a smart move?
Add in his aggressive demeanor on the ice, which can revitalize a struggling team, and Lecavalier is the kind of glue player that will add serious firepower on a second line and serve as another leader in the locker room.
Lecavalier has turned bad teams into contenders and contenders into Stanley Cup favorites.
The lockout-shortened regular season wreaked havoc on the veteran last year, and Lecavalier was forced to miss nine games with a lower-body injury. While he has been faced with minor injuries that have cost him games in each of the last three seasons, the former captain has been known as an ironman over his career.
While there is always risk involved with making a deal with a free agent, signing a bona fide offensive star, postseason veteran and on-and-off-ice leader like Lecavalier was a no-brainer. As Gretz reported, that’s why so many teams were chasing him.