Tampa Bay Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier Enjoying 2011-12 NHL Season Success

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Tampa Bay Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier Enjoying 2011-12 NHL Season Success
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In his 14th season now, Vincent Lecavalier is enjoying early success this year with the Tampa Bay Lightning, after experiencing consecutive years of dropped-off production dating back to 2007.

That 2006-07 campaign saw the longtime captain register 52 goals and 108 points, good enough to capture the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer, as well as making him the all-time Lightning season-high scorer.

Since then, however, Lecavalier has tallied point-totals of 92, 67, 70, and just 54 last season. 

Shoulder and wrist injuries have surely set him back, which could explain Lecavalier's decreased production, but it seems Vinny is finally back to being Vinny.

Through 21 games thus far, Lecavalier has tallied 10 goals (including one game-winner) and 17 points, on pace for a 30-goal, 60-70 point season. The last time he scored 30 goals was 2007-08, when he lit the lamp 40 times, and totaled 92 points.

The 31-year-old Lecavalier is developing more of a two-way game under head coach Guy Boucher, who emphasizes a defense-first system. Perhaps he's finally playing completely injury-free hockey. We all know that, especially in the playoffs, players come back early from injury so long as they can still physically compete.

Either way, it seems Lecavalier is settling into that role more comfortably, much like Detroit Red Wings great Steve Yzerman eventually did under legendary head coach Scotty Bowman.

Playing around 19 minutes each game, Lecavalier has been a vital part of the Lightning's offense this season, the team he's spent his entire career with.

His 10 goals are good for second on the team, only two behind Steven Stamkos, and also tie for fifth in the entire NHL. Although he's played 12 games on the road, as opposed to only nine at home, Lecavalier has tallied 11 points at home, and only six on the road.  

At age 31, the Ile Bizard, Quebec, native still has plenty of solid hockey left in him. It appears it's time to reconsider for those who wrote off Vincent Lecavalier. He's getting back to his old, scoring form.

Now, he may not find the top 10 in league scoring by the season's end, but as I stated, a 30-goal, 60-70 point season would be undoubtedly be a welcome sight in Tampa Bay. And at this rate, it's hard to see him slowing down. 

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