Found June 29, 2013 on
Fox Sports Florida:
NEW YORK The Florida Panthers missed out on an opportunity once already to acquire Vincent Lecavalier. Fifteen years later, they are going to take another shot at getting the playmaking center into their lineup.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon and assistant GM Mike Santos intend to make a pitch to sign the unrestricted free agent and fomer Lightning captain.
"We've got young big centermen that would learn a lot from him, so yeah, we've got some interest," Tallon said. "Hopefully he has some interest as well. That's the way it starts. It takes two to tango. If he doesn't want to come, so be it. But I think there could be some open dialogue there and it would be a benefit to our franchise as far as him being able to help our young guys develop."
The Lightning officially removed Lecavalier from its reserved list Saturday, giving other franchises permission to speak with the center. Tallon said he has not yet talked to the former Stanley Cup champion or his agent, but Santos indicated calling Lecavalier is very high on the team's to-do list.
"We could speak to him now, but we wouldn't be able to sign him to a contract until July 5, like any other free agent," Santos said. "I'll certainly speak with him. I'd be foolish not to look into something like that."
During the 1997-98 season, Florida traded its first-round pick to San Jose for center Viktor Kozlov. The Sharks ended up shifting that selection to Tampa Bay in a three-player deal. The Panthers finished with the second-worst record in the league but won that year's draft lottery. Florida's dealings ultimately put the top pick in the hands of its intrastate rival, and Tampa Bay used the selection to draft Lecavalier.
But Tampa Bay, which inked its captain to an 11-year, 85 million contract in 2008 to assure he'd retire in blue and white, shocked the hockey world Wednesday by using one of its two compliance buyouts on Lecavalier.
The Bolts will owe its former captain 32.667 million over the next 14 years. That breaks down to approximately 2.25 million per year.
The Panthers have lined up several selling points which could draw Lecavalier to Sunrise, Fla., a major one being income tax. Santos estimated Lecavalier could save 8 to 10 percent a year on Tampa Bay's payout by remaining a Florida resident.
The only other states with NHL teams that do not collect income tax are Texas and Tennessee. The Dallas Stars reportedly met with Lecavalier Saturday afternoon for an hour.
Additionally, there is the close-to-home factor. The distance between Lecavaler's doorstep in Tampa to the BB&T Center in Sunrise amounts to a total of 252 miles 3 12 hours by car and even less by plane.
"He's a real good family man," Santos said of the 14-year veteran. "He's got a young family. And having a home in the Tampa Bay area, I know he's been a big part of that community for a long time, including his own foundation with children's hospitals."
There's also the benefit of remaining in the Eastern Conference and a realigned division, which will allow the Ile Bizard, Quebec-native to play a guaranteed minimum of two games against his hometown Montreal Canadiens.
Lecavalier spent 14 seasons in Tampa Bay, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2004. He leads the franchise in games (1,037), goals (383), power-play goals (112) and game-winning goals (60). Lecavalier captured the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer in 2007 when he tallied 52.
Lecavalier entered this last lockout-shortened season as a 12-time consecutive 20-goal scorer. He has reached the 30-goal plateau five times.
Although the 33-year-old's numbers have declined since his 52-goal, 108-point season in 2006-07, the Panthers believe he brings leadership and a valuable skill set to a relatively young roster.
"Is he better than what we have in the center position now? Probably," Santos said. "We certainly aren't going to wait this out forever. But right now our focus is on the draft tomorrow."
BEST OF MAXIM
NHL Free Agency doesn’t officially begin until July 5, but a big fish just became available on the market. The Tampa Bay Lightning exercised one of their compliance buyouts on Vincent Lecavalier earlier today, making him available for the other 29 teams to sign him. Interestingly, when Lecavalier was asked about the Detroit Red Wings, [...]
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The now former captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vincent Lecavalier, addressed the media about the team’s decision to buyout his contract Thursday. Among many things said, Lecavalier thanked the organization, his teammates, and also the fans. He also mentioned what his potential plans are moving forward. His full statement is embedded below.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Is Vincent Lecavalier a bigger name than he is a player at this stage of his professional career? That is a matter NHL teams will need address in the days heading toward July 5.
Lecavalier (left) is not as old as you might think, 33, but this coming season will be his 15th in the NHL. He is not the star he once was. He is not a candidate...
Vincent Lecavalier met with the Detroit Red Wings this weekend — part of a whirlwind couple of days in which he talked to at least a dozen clubs — and he plans to narrow his list down in the next few days. Any team left in the running better be prepared to make a serious commitment.
Darren Dreger reported Sunday’s TSN draft coverage that one NHL GM told him Lecavalier is seeking...
Beware, Wings fans, auto-play clips lurk within:
After more "rumblings" and "insider" talk than anything else at the draft (the Wings' 18-for-20-and-58 swap was more indicative of the day's events than any other trade), I'm not thrilled starting this overnight report discussing the Red Wings' courtship of one marquee cap compliance buy-out player...
You can add yet another team to the long list of Vincent Lecavalier's suitors...
Good job by Peter Chiarelli and B's staff meeting w/Vinny Lacavalier yesterday w/out any1 knowing about it. B's like him as RW #BruinsTalk
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 30, 2013
But he did meet with the Red Wings today, we think...
Just saw #NHL free agent...
The Boston Bruins, hit with the news they will likely be losing right wing Nathan Horton to free agency, are one of many teams interested in signing free-agent forward Vincent Lecavalier.
The team met with the center Saturday in New Jersey.
Recently released by the Tampa bay Lightning via a compliance lockout, Lecavalier is clearly a hot commodity on the open market and moved onto...
Here is a roundup of the latest rumors involving the Maple Leafs.
Vincent Lecavalier: Josh Rimer and Howard Berger have reported that the Leafs have reached out to Lecavalierâs agent, but the line will be long 33 year old center. The list of teams that have expressed interest so far are Boston, Montreal, St. Louis, Dallas, Florida, Carolina, Anaheim and many others.
Just days after getting bought out, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that former Tampa Bay Lightning first overall pick Vincent Lecavalier is receiving interest from multiple teams in the NHL. “We have been reached out to by a number of teams, easily a dozen or more,” Kent Hughes, Lecavalier’s agent, told ESPN.com Friday afternoon. “This is the beginning of the process [...]
The Red Wings have drafted Anthony Mantha, Zach Nastasiuk, Tyler Bertuzzi, Mattias Janmark-Nylen, David Pope, Mitchell Wheaton, and Marc McNulty, and as TSN's Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun suggested that Vincent Lecavalier will narrow down his list of teams to 4-5, will visit some of them, and is asking for $5 million a year for 5 years...
The Wings wrapped up the part of...
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Jay Feaster has his eyes set on another big name.
This time it's a member of the Stanley Cup winning team Feaster assembled in 2004.
The Calgary Flames are interested in Vincent Lecavalier, who was recently bought out, and will meet with Lecavalier and his representatives in New Jersey tomorrow, according to Elliotte Friedman...
Sense is that Vincent Lecavalier will have shortlist of teams drawn up by tonight or tomorrow morning; either way, pre-draft...
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 29, 2013
... could be down to 1 or 2 teams by draft time...
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 29, 2013
Talks have been positive between Mike Smith and Coyotes. Future of...
“It will depend on many different things” -Marc Bergevin on the possibility of signing Vincent Lecavalier
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 29, 2013
Gillis indicated that another team called about Scheider, not the other way around. "You have to listen."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 29, 2013