Coach Craig Berube struggled to find a suitable place for center Vinny Lecavalier. General Manager Ron Hextall could be facing a similar challenge.
TSN hockey analyst Darren Dreger reported the Flyers are now interested in dealing the 34-year-old center after just one year in Philadelphia, and with the organization fresh out of compliance buyouts (see: Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere), the Flyers would have to find a suitable partner for an offseason swap.
To facilitate a trade, first and foremost, the Flyers would have to eat a portion of Lecavalier’s salary. He’s due $16.5 million over the next four years, including $6 million for 2014-15, and under current CBA guidelines, the Flyers could retain as much as 50 percent. Assuming they’re willing to do that, the acquiring team would pay Lecavalier $8.25 over four years, which would give general managers something to seriously consider.
The $4.5 cap hit is completely transferrable, so the benefit for the Flyers is two-fold: creating some needed cap space, and opening up a spot on the active roster -- addition by subtraction. The return for the Flyers would have to be minimal. It’s a far reach to think the Flyers would receive a younger player in return, so the asking price should be nothing more than a draft pick.
Secondly, Lecavalier would have to be completely willing to waive his no-movement clause with no strings attached. If Lecavalier comes up with a short list of teams, then it could easily kill any potential deal. But the most difficult component of a trade will be finding a team and GM that still believe Lecavalier has some productive years left while remaining healthy into his mid-to late-30s. Where should Hextall start his search? Here’s a few potential destinations:
Nashville: This may seem like the obvious connection now that Peter Laviolette is behind the Predators' bench. It was Lavy’s up-tempo system that was a real selling point for Lecavalier here in Philadelphia. The Predators are desperate for a scoring center and GM David Poile likes a bargain if the Flyers agree to pick up half of Lecavalier's contract.
Ottawa: The Senators could be in the market for a first- and/or second-line center, especially if they elect to deal captain Jason Spezza, who has reportedly asked management for a trade. Adding to the Senators' concerns, they currently have just four forwards signed after next season.
Florida: After spending his first 14 seasons in Tampa, Lecavalier could see returning to Florida as an enticing option. The Panthers, too, are desperate for centermen. Like Ottawa, Florida has a lot of holes on its roster after 2014-15. Lecavalier’s wicked one-timer from the right circle would give a boost to the league’s worst power play that connected on just 10 percent last season.
Dallas: Last year, the Stars were one of the teams reportedly in hot pursuit of Lecavalier. Outside of the deadly combination of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, the Stars would like to find some secondary scoring. Dallas finished 23rd on the power play last season, and they too could benefit from Lecavalier’s presence.
Calgary: Another team in dire need of talented players is the Flames, and Brian Burke has shown a preference for big, skilled centers. Cap space isn’t an issue with over $30 million of room, and for much of last season the Flames were a competitive team that couldn’t get over the hump. Right now, Matt Stajan is Calgary’s highest-paid center at just over $3 million/season.