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Flyers to Sign Vincent Lecavalier for Five Years, $22.5 Million

Jul 2, 2013, 7:55 PM EDT

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The Flyers just fired the first shot in free agency, and the signing period doesn’t officially begin until Friday.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Tuesday evening that the Orange & Black have come to terms with four-time All Star Vincent Lecavalier on a five-year deal worth $22.5 million, a cap hit of $4.5 million per season. The agreement includes a full no-movement clause. The organization confirmed the story, although they can’t ink the contract before July 5.

Lecavalier, 33, was amnestied by the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 27. Within two days he was already meeting with the Flyers as teams numbering in double digits were contacting the center. It was unclear how serious talks were however – until now, general manager Paul Holmgren had managed to leave the media in the dark.

Lecavalier – 6-4, 208 – has spent the entirety of his 14-year NHL career with the Lightning. The long-time Tampa captain’s best season was in 2006-07, when he led the league in goals with 52.

That’s not the player the Flyers are getting though. The first-overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, Lecavalier hasn’t played a full season since 09-10 due to injuries, nor has he recorded a 70-point season in equally as long. He was last chosen for the All-Star Game one year earlier. Through 39 games in 2013, Vinny posted 10 goals and 22 assists while skating just under 18 minutes per night.

In 1,037 games, Lecavalier’s 383 goals ranks ninth among all active skaters, 874 points overall. He’s appeared in another 63 games in the postseason as well, logging 24 scores and 28 helpers.

There’s no arguing Lecavalier is still a tremendous player. and one who brings a strong presence to the dressing room. We asked on Monday how he might fit on the ice though with the Flyers being fairly deep at center. This could open the door for a Sean Couturier trade later, or for Brayden Schenn to move to winger.

The Flyers must make additional moves to fit Lecavalier under the cap. Per Tim Panaccio, the Flyers only have $4.1 million in space, and already have qualifying offers out to several of their restricted free agents, plus still need to find a second goaltender to compete against Steve Mason.

According to reports, the front office continues to hold talks with the Edmonton Oilers about a possible swap for Braydon Coburn. Coburn’s cap figure is $4.5 million. Andrej Meszaros, on the final year of his contract, is also expendable at $4 million if anybody will have him.

It would appear this is the blockbuster move Flyers observers have been waiting for, so you can exhale. It’s hard to argue with adding a talent like Lecavalier, even if center wasn’t the club’s biggest need, and might result in one or more role players departing.

The Flyers get better with the acquisition, but does Lecavalier put them that much closer to hoisting the Stanley Cup?

  1. shyduck - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Team needs defensive and goalie help, so Homer signs a player in the downswing of his career at the one position they’re already deep at, and possibly at the expense of a 20 year old future Selke candidate.

    Not the worst signing in the world by itself, but Holmgren is probably the world’s worst chess player.

    Reply
  2. nyphilsphan - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    If there was an obvious move to make the team better for $4.5 mil a year, this was it. Losing Jags last year killed this team, and we’ve since added 2 leaders- Streit and Vinny- to right the ship and get the youth movement on track.

    Now, it will be very interesting to see how the lines shape up in the wake of this. Read moves down with Coots, Hartsy with Vinny or Claude? Where would Gags fit in if we signed him? What does this mean for Laughton?

    But one thing is for sure, we got one of the best defensive centers in the league who is a total ace on faceoffs and is certain to have a better year offensively surrounded by some talented youngsters.

    Reply
  3. Scott - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Closer to hoisting the cup? Vinny certainly helps make up for the lost offense but I’m already looking forward to what Homer does next Halak I’ll take seeing we cant afford other options at this point and then we still have D needs to fill.

    Make it happen.

    Reply
  4. FeatherGreen - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    This signing is not the answer. Streit and Lecavalier do not make this team a contender. Its time to follow in the Sixers footsteps, clean out the front office, and actually commit to a rebuild. This team isn’t one or two pieces away, and the “win now” mentality is crippling us. Take out the outlier of the 2010 Finals run and you can see this franchise as truly moribound. Blow em up.

    Reply
  5. Mostel - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Mez needs to go NOW for a bag of pucks or a 8475th round draft pick.

    IF Gustavson AND Bourdon are both ready to contribure then Coburn can be traded as well.

    Reply
  6. Charlie D - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Dumb move…drop Briere for another player (Lecavalier) that is too similar to Briere….at the end of his career, injury plagued, hasn’t played a full season in years…yet Holmgren signs him for 5 years, till he’s 38! No plan, just taking wild shots.

    Reply
    • Michael J - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      Great signing. The crop of Free Agent defensemen and goaltenders is putrid. Most of the “best” defensemen on the market are on the wrong side of 30 and have no offensive skill. Unless you somehow get Pietrangelo from the Blues (who at 23, is already competing for Norris trophies and can put up crazy points), then why not go for a game changing center like Vinny who can provide leadership as well as excellent puck control. At 6’4, he is bigger (by 6 inches), stronger, younger, and cheaper than Danny Briere.

      And the defense…

      We won 6 of our last 7 games last year, and the young defensemen (Gus, Lauridsen) were a big reason why. If cutting cap space means trading Coburn/Mez away, then those same young guys will step up to the plate and compete. I would rather get Gus a full season with the big club knowing that Timonen and his $6million come off the books after next season. Even M.A. Bourdon (who would have been with the big club last year had it not been for a concussion) is healthy and ready to compete for a spot. Why pay for another slow, shot-blocking specialist who can’t help us in the offensive end, when there’s young, home-grown talent that can continue to develop here while getting ample playing time?

      Reply
    • B-rad - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Briere and Lecavalier are completely different players. 2 million cheaper, 2 years youngers, and 6’4 compared to 5’7.

      Reply
  7. chew - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    there’s our Homer!!!

    Reply
  8. mac - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Lecavalier will be the new Jagr, except better. He’s said he is open to playing wing, him and G together will be nice. He’s still a threat to score every time he touches the puck.

    You want bad contract, go ask the Rangers if it was worth trading and being unable to sign key pieces of their ECF team two years ago just to pay Rick Nash 7.8 million a year for 8 years. For what forwards go for these days, 4.5 for 5 years and what him and G will do together, will be well worth it.

    Reply
  9. broadstreetbully - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    A lot of people are going to slam this signing, but I think it was a decent move that basically solidified their top two lines with this. They basically got a Briere that plays a better two-way game for cheaper. Our top two lines and powerplay units will round out nicely with Streit and Lecavlier now. B. Schenn and/or Read is going to have to move within the next year, especially if we can’t ship off Meszaros. Read is going to deserve a raise when he becomes a free agent next year, and Schenn is going to either prove that he was worth the hype or continue to have flashes of brilliance and become invisible for other games.

    Gus is also in a make-or-break year, but I think he’s due for a big one. Streit, Kimmo, Schenn, Gus, Coburn, and Grossman. I like the sound of that if they can get rid of Meszaros, or at least get a good deal on Coburn. Now they either trade Coburn for Halak and sign Thomas/Nabokov/whoever for cheap and they got a competitive looking team next year. This might mean Gags isn’t coming back though because we just don’t have the money.

    Reply
    • broadstreetbully - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Meant trade for Halak OR sign one of those FA goalies. Not both, just someone to compliment Mason.

      Reply
  10. Matt S. - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    I’m not a fan of the years but it’s a very reasonable cap hit for an established player like Vinny. He may not be vintage Lecavalier anymore but he can definitely still play. 2-3 Years would have been ideal though.

    Reply
  11. BenE. - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    I’m a big fan of this signing. That’s all!

    Reply
  12. mac - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    FYI over the last 3 seasons….. Lecavalier averaging more Pts/G than Marleau, Gaborik, Parise, Krejci, Kesler, Briere, Carter, Richards, Heatley, Doan and Alfredson.

    Reply
  13. Mostel - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I’m interested to see how the lines shake out.

    Giroux – Voracek – Hartnell
    Vinny – Schenn – Simmonds
    Read – Couturier – ?????
    Talbot – ????? – ???????

    Reply
    • Flyboyz - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Hartnell – Giroux – Bobby Ryan
      Simmonds – Lecavalier – Voracek
      Read – Couturier – Laughton
      Rosehill – Talbot – Rinaldo

      Reply
      • Mostel - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        I have zero interest in trading B. Schenn unless a 40 goal scorer or a Norris candidate is coming back.

      • Jay D - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        I totally agree about Schenn….
        He will emerge!!!!!!!!!

  14. hitnrun - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Sounds like another Flyers great to walk the hallowed halls with Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger, and Peter Forsberg.

    Reply
  15. psudrozz - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    heard the flyers really wanted pavel bure for 3.6 million a year for 8 years.

    Reply
    • sundies - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      Mats Sundin and Gordie Howe are still available

      Reply
  16. Tom - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Great, another over thirty player on the downside of his career. Lecavalier’s agent should get him and endorsement deal with Nova Care.

    Reply
    • Mostel - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      You realize he’s making less than Hartnell, right?

      Reply
  17. Jay D - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    If he’s healthy….this will be a nice fit for the flyers…

    If hes plagued then obviously it will suck…

    thats what age does for ya…its a gamble

    Reply
  18. Will - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Gotta love the NTC to another aging player. Homer is a moron.

    Reply
    • Tom - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Philadelphia Flyers…the Oakland Raiders of hockey.

      Reply
  19. JohnMFD - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Vinny gets more opportunities to sucker punch Malkin? I’m OK with this.

    Reply
    • psudrozz - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      no such thing as sucker punching malkin.

      just doin’ the Lord’s work

      Reply

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