Tampa Bay Lightning
Free agent Lecavalier, Flyers agree to terms
Former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier will be a member of the Philadelphia Flyers starting next season.
Lecavalier agreed to terms with Philadelphia, the team confirmed on its website Tuesday night. The team did not release the details of the contract but multiple reports stated the deal is for five years and worth $22.5 million for an annual salary cap hit of $4.5 million.
RDS television out of Montreal reported Lecavalier will make $6 million the next two seasons, $4.5 million in 2015-16 and $3 million in the final two years of the deal.
The deal can not be signed until noon on Friday when the free-agent market opens.
Neither Lecavalier nor agent Kent Hughes returned messages on Tuesday.
Former Lightning defenseman Bruno Gervais, now with Philadelphia, sent a message to Lecavalier via his Twitter account Tuesday saying, “Welcome my friend! Bienvenue mon ami! I know whos buying the first team dinner!''
Tampa Bay used one of its two amnesty buyout options on Lecavalier on Thursday, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent capable of signing with any team.
Lecavalier had seven years and $45 million left on his deal with the Lightning, who owe Lecavalier $32 million spread out over the next 14 years as a result of the buyout.
Lecavalier, 33, spent the first 14 seasons with Tampa Bay after being the first overall selection in the 1998 draft. He is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,038) and goals (383) and is second in assists (449) and points (874).
He signed an 11-year extension worth $85 million in 2008 that began in 2009-10 and carried a $7.7 million salary cap hit. With an annual salary of $10 million the first seven years of the contract, Lecavalier was among the highest-paid players in the league.
Though he may not be the same player he was when he captured the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2006-07 while leading the league with 52 goals and has been slowed by injuries in recent years, the interest in Lecavalier was high around the league.
At this past weekend's NHL entry draft, Lecavalier flew to New York as he and his agent held meetings with several teams. Among the teams Lecavalier held face-to-face meetings with were Detroit, Dallas, Anaheim, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Washington, St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Several other teams also expressed interest in speaking to the former Lightning captain, who said last week after the buyout was official that he was looking forward to a new challenge.
“I know I'm going to be somewhere else, it's going to be a different challenge, but I'm so motivated to go somewhere else and prove I can play at a high level,'' he said. “I want to win. So I'm really excited about that.”