Ilya Bryzgalov no longer represents the largest buyout in NHL history.
That honor now goes to Vincent Lecavalier.
GM Steve Yzerman announced Thursday on his team's website that the Lightning will buy out the remainder of Lecavalier's 11-year, $85 million deal. The total buyout comes to $32.67 million over the next 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 said in a statement. "The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward."
"After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us."
The Lightning selected Lecavalier No. 1 overall in the 1998 NHL Draft and made him the youngest captain in NHL history during second season at the age of 19, although he would later be stripped of it and earn it back years later. He helped lead the team to its first Stanley Cup in 2004 and owns the team record for games played (1, 037) and goals (383). He is second to Martin St. Louis in total point and assists.
Penguins: Kunitz signs three-year extension
The Pittsburgh Penguins and forward Chris Kunitz have agreed on a three-year contract extension.
The deal, announced Thursday, begins in 2014 and runs through the 2016-17 season.
Kunitz has flourished in Pittsburgh while playing with stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Kunitz led the Penguins with 22 goals this season and was second on the team with 52 points.
Malkin agreed to an eight-year extension earlier this month. Pittsburgh is also negotiating with defenseman Kris Letang and forwards Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke, both of whom will become free agents next month.
General manager Ray Shero says the contract will carry an annual salary cap hit of $3.85 million.