Lightning For Sale: Canadiens Can Dump Scott Gomez for Vinny Lecavalier

Tyler BlouinContributor IJanuary 29, 2010

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 16: Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on January 16, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It's trade deadline season, so naturally, rumors of Vincent Lecavalier coming home to La Belle Provence are sure to pick back up where they left off. Since last year's deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightening ownership (Oren Koules and Len Barrie) and continues to be at each other's throat in an unfortunately yet mildly entertaining battle over the team’s direction.

During the All Star weekend in Montreal last season, the Montreal media was indeed gushing at the prospect of Lecavalier possibly coming to Montreal. The deadline past, the window for Vinny's no-trade clause kicked in, and we all went back to normal. Many were outraged that Lecavalier may have been available and Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey didn't entertain the idea of bringing an established scoring center into the club that had a slew of impending unrestricted free agents.

Today, The Hockey News suggests that the financial and internal management struggles of the Bolts are coming to a head and the team is negotiating a $170 million deal to sell to Boston-based hedge fund manager Jeffrey Vinik. The bigger story in this is the uncertainty of Lecavalier and whether he'll be a victim of cutting payroll. Remember now, this was the same situation Tampa Bay was in last season, but ultimately decided to keep Lecavalier and his $10 million salary for the next six seasons.

It's time for Montreal GM Gainey to step up and swing a deal for Lecavalier. Granted, Lecavalier has not had a stellar scoring season, but he's a big center that the Habs are in need of. The biggest Obstacle (with a capital O), is Scott Gomez and his ridiculous $7.36 million cap hit through 2014. Yes, Gomez has proven himself in the past has a great setup man. Yes, he and Brian Gionta have been clicking on a line with newly-acquired Beniot Pouliot. But if Gainey can dump Gomez and his contract to someone else, Lecavalier would be a no-brainer for this squad.

Coming back to Earth, we all understand that this is not only unlikely, but downright impossible. Gainey would likely have to fork over young talent to sweeten the deal; something Montreal management has been notoriously against. Plus, Lecavalier has made it clear that he loves Florida and would like to retire there.

My prediction is the team will ultimately be sold and Lecavalier will ultimately be dealt to someone by the deadline. I'm also predicting the team the wins the Vinny Lecavalier Lotto will not be the Canadiens. Maybe, just maybe, I'm wrong, but if history is any indication, I'm not.


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