Calm before the storm
Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier has been hounded by rumors for the past couple of seasons. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Calm before the storm
Jeff Vinik, the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was asked by a reporter during the press conference announcing his takeover of the team if the club would retain team captain Vincent Lecavalier or trade him.
Vinik said he had no problem with Lecavalier being on the team, adding the Lightning wouldn’t be burdened by financial constraints.
While Vinik didn’t exactly say Lecavalier wouldn’t be traded, it appears he’s put to rest – for the time being – speculation he wanted to cut costs by trying to move the expensive center in the off-season.
Lecavalier is currently in the first season of an 11-year contract averaging more than $7.7 million per season and has a no-movement clause.
• The Toronto Maple Leafs will be in the market for offensive depth this summer, but don’t expect GM Brian Burke to make a pitch for superstar Ilya Kovalchuk.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star says it’s his understanding the Leafs have little interest in Kovalchuk, largely because of the winger’s rumored asking price (10-12 years, $100 million).
Burke will shop around for scorers in this summer’s UFA market, but with, according to capgeek.com, nearly $49 million committed to 15 players next season, he won’t chase big-ticket players like Kovalchuk.
• Veteran center Doug Weight’s NHL season has come to an end due to shoulder surgery and he’s hoping it doesn’t spell the end to his career.
The New York Post reports the 39-year-old Islanders captain, who was limited to only 36 games this season, still believes he can play in 2010-11.
He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and earned $2 million in 2009-10.
Unless the Isles decide to bring Weight back for a last hurrah, his age and recent injury history could very well spell the end of his long career.
• Could Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray end up with the Rangers this summer?
That’s the opinion of the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, who recently noted Souray’s no-movement clause expires July 1, meaning the Oilers could ship him anywhere after that date without his permission.
Garrioch suggests the Rangers could make a pitch because “they always do,” but common sense suggests the last thing the Blueshirts need is another slow-footed, overpaid, aging defenseman.
Yes, Rangers GM Glen Sather has made questionable moves in the recent past – hello there, Wade Redden – but Souray’s injury history and diminished foot speed should be enough to scare Sather away.
• Goaltender Michael Leighton played a big role in saving the Philadelphia Flyers season with his solid performance filling in for the injured Ray Emery.
In 26 games thus far with the Flyers, Leighton has an impressive 16-5-2 record, a 2.42 goals-against average and a sterling .921 save percentage.
The 28-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but it’s believed the Flyers are interested in re-signing him, perhaps to a two-year extension.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Daily News there was no point in talking about extending Leighton right now, likely because he wants to see if Leighton can continue his strong play down the stretch and into the playoffs before making him an offer.
Leighton is currently earning $600,000 this season, only half of which counts against the Flyers cap because they claimed him off re-entry waivers in December from Carolina.
If he keeps playing well, he’ll be in line for a significant raise, perhaps in the neighborhood of $2 million per season, which might be affordable for the cap-strapped Flyers.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.