Vincent Lecavalier (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Vincent Lecavalier’s tenure in Philadelphia has been tumultuous, but he’s going to be back with the Flyers next season barring a trade. One thing that won’t be happening, though, “under any circumstances,” according Lecavalier’s agent, is retirement for the veteran winger.
Barring a trade, it appears that Vincent Lecavalier will be with the Philadelphia Flyers for a third season, as his agent has said no one from the organization has contacted him about buying out Lecavalier’s contract and the veteran isn’t ready to call it a career quite yet.
In an interview with TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes said that the 35-year-old Lecavalier isn’t ready to retire, “under any circumstances.” There had been some rumblings that Lecavalier could be considered for a buyout, but those were squashed by GM Ron Hextall, who said he didn’t intend to buy Lecavalier out.
Lecavalier’s tenure in Philadelphia has been somewhat rocky, however. Lecavalier was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead of the 2013-14 season, but signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with Flyers during that same off-season. The first season in Philadelphia, a year in which the longtime Lightning winger scored 20 goals and 37 points for the Flyers, wasn’t awful, but this past season saw Lecavalier become a healthy scratch under coach Craig Berube, saw him skate the fewest average minutes of his career – that includes his rookie season – and register the fewest points, 20, of his 16 years in the NHL.
The first overall pick of the Lightning in 1998, Lecavalier is closing in on 1,000 points for his career – he currently has 411 goals and 931 points – and inching ever closer to 1,200 games. While he once looked like a potential Hall of Famer, and he still has some of the credentials, Lecavalier hasn’t looked like same player over the past few seasons.
That said, if the Flyers could manage to get more out of Lecavalier, keeping him on board might not be the worst move. Sure, he’s expensive at a $4.5 million cap hit, but in his last season playing close to 18 minutes per game, he scored 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games.
Were he to get decent minutes and find linemates that he gels with, he could be a 20-25-goal scorer in the league still. Lecavalier is a five-time 30-goal scorer, a Stanley Cup champion in 2003-04, and the Rocket Richard winner in 2006-07 with 52 goals. This upcoming campaign, under new Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, he might have the chance to recapture some of his previous form.
The alternative for the Flyers would be to move Lecavalier. Likely, to do so, Philadelphia would have to retain salary, but there could be some takers. If not, it’ll be another year in Philadelphia for Vinny.