The Tampa Bay Lightning are buying out the contract of center Vincent Lecavalier, a move that will create salary cap space and make one of the stars of the franchise's only Stanley Cup champion a free agent next month.
Lecavalier was the first overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft and helped Tampa Bay win the NHL title in 2004. He is Tampa Bay's career leader in goals and games played.
The four-time All-Star spent 14 seasons with the Lightning and was team captain for much of that time.
General manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday that using a compliance buyout allowed by the NHL's collective bargaining agreement will provide financial flexibility that will provide an opportunity to improve the Lightning roster for the long term.
The buyout will cost more than $32 million over 14 years.
''Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable,'' Yzerman s...