Vincent Lecavalier to Kings: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 28:  Vincent Lecavalier #40 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 28, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Len Redkoles/Getty Images

Just two years after making a big splash in free agency by signing Vincent Lecavalier, the Philadelphia Flyers have moved on as the veteran center was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Elliotte Freidman of Hockey Night in Canada reported Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn were shipped to Los Angeles in exchange for center Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick. Friedman also noted the Flyers will keep 50 percent of both contracts on their books.

Darren Dreger of TSN, via his colleague Bob McKenzie, confirmed the report.  

Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes said its his client's intention to retire at the end of the season, per McKenzie.

After 14 productive seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bolts used a compliance buyout in 2013, which made Lecavalier a free agent. The Flyers jumped at the opportunity to land an established leader and point producer as they inked him to a five-year, $22 million contract.

It didn't take long for the Flyers to have buyer's remorse as Lecavalier disappointed in his first season with Philly to the tune of 20 goals and just 37 points in 69 games. Things got even worse for the former No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014-15 as he set career lows with eight goals and 20 points.

This season, Lecavalier has appeared in just seven games, recording a lone assist.

He had constantly been the subject of trade rumors over the past couple years, and now he is finally on the move as the Flyers were able to find a taker at long last.

It is far from the first time Philadelphia tried to move him as it almost struck a deal last offseason, according to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com:

Despite the Flyers' obvious desire to deal him, it was starting to look as though it would never happen. With that in mind, Lecavalier seemed at peace with the possibility of staying in Philadelphia.

He never jived with former Flyers head coach Craig Berube, but expressed optimism over the arrival of Dave Hakstol in that same role, per Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post:

"I'm excited," Lecavalier said during training camp. "I believe I worked as hard as I could this summer with on-ice (training). I started earlier. I used to skate twice a week. Then three times, but I started right away going four times a week to really get back in that groove."

Lecavalier is no longer the same player who made the All-Star team four times and netted anywhere from 35 to 50 goals for the Lightning with great regularity, but he can still be a productive player in the right situation.

At 6'4" and well over 200 pounds, Lecavalier has prototypical center size and is capable of out-muscling opponents even at his advanced age. If given some quality wingers to play alongside, Lecavalier creates matchup problems.

Perhaps more important than any of that, though, are the intangibles that Lecavalier possesses. He captained the Lightning for much of his tenure there and was a huge part of their Stanley Cup triumph in 2004. In fact, Lecavalier has made a habit of raising his game on the big stage.

Lecavalier has 54 points in 70 career playoff games as he becomes tougher for the opposition to handle when things tighten up defensively. Even if Lecavalier is just average during the regular season this year, he may ultimately pay dividends under the bright lights of the postseason.

While Lecavalier's contract is still a concern since he could very well be out of the league within four years, he makes sense as a short-term option. Lecavalier knows that his best days in the NHL are coming to a close, so look for him to put everything into making a playoff run and going after the Stanley Cup in this year.

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