Vincent Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Flyers in July. (AP)
Flyers centerman Vinny Lecavalier spent 14 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He won a Stanley Cup there in 2004 and the Rocket Richard Trophy three years later as the league’s top goal scorer with 52.
In March of 2000, Lecavalier became the youngest captain in NHL history (to that point) when the Bolts gave him the “C” at age 19 and 314 days.
Sidney Crosby would later surpass that in Pittsburgh, as would Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog.
In an offseason where the NHL salary cap dropped by $4 million, clubs were permitted to buy two players out.
The Flyers bought out Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere. Tampa bought out Lecavalier and he signed in July with the Flyers as a free agent.
Here’s a short Q&A with him following his first week of training camp with the Flyers:
Q: What was media day like for you when you met the guys? Feel like a newcomer?
A: It felt like the first day of high school or something. You don’t really know anybody. But I knew a few guys. It went well. All great guys. Hockey is a special sport for that. We bond easily. We have already hung out as team one day to get to know the guys. It’s different from Tampa where I had been there so long. Guys made me feel welcome.
Q: You were with one club so long, now a new team. What about chemistry?
A: A lot of years I was on the same team with a lot of player changes every year. We’re all going to fit in very good. There are some great players here. That is what is so exciting. This is a really good team. One of the reasons why I wanted to come here. I looked at the roster and really liked this team. That is why I am excited to start here.
Q: People still say, ‘Why Philly?’ and not another big city?
A: I wanted to be in a hockey market. I’m not going to lie. Just playing against this team, in this building, this is like a family here. From all the players who have played here, I see all the guys coming back, all the guys living here. You can see this is a tight organization and tight family. That is something I wanted to be part of.
Q: So you’ve already seen the difference of what it is like to be in a true hockey town?
A: I’ve only been here a week but there is definitely that feel. This is a big hockey market. People really know the game. I’m excited to come to a game here. Be nice to cheer for us and not against me. This is a really -- you can feel it around town. People are excited. It’s a huge hockey market.
Q: Have you had any interaction with fans walking around on your own?
A: Going to practice at Skate Zone and seeing fans over there. But I hear it from other guys. They tell me this is a very special place. Not just for hockey, but for sports in general. Philadelphia is a great, great sports town. They said I should already feel it. I will once the games start. You definitely get that feeling.
Q: Claude Giroux is a young captain, just his second year in that role. You’ve been in that spot in Tampa. How do you help him?
A: I only met him last week. He’s got a lot of leadership qualities. From what I hear, he leads by example, as well, in the locker room. He’s the captain and our leader, but he has Mark Streit who has been a captain and been around. I’ve been around a few years, as well. We’re all gonna help each other to push each other and make decisions. Scott Hartnell -- been around a long time and a great leader, as well. Claude is the leader, but there is a good group of players to help him out.
Q: You’ve been asked this before, but after the buyout, do you feel you still have something to prove here?
A: I do, but not to prove Tampa was wrong or anything. For me, it’s another challenge the way the year went last year with injuries and not winning. That is more the part of me saying I want to have a good year and help this team out as much as I can. Everybody has something to prove every year. We’re all going to push forward.