All eyes are on Vincent Lecavalier, the once prominent centre from Québec who is now looking for a new home, as Tampa Bay has decided that they would rather pay him $33M to leave the team, than pay him to contribute.
Where will Vinny land, and will he use his buyout to build a plane entirely out of $100 bills to get there?
Will Montreal Canadiens fans finally get the hometown hero they've been crying for ever since the great Guillaume Latendresse graced the Bell Centre with his magnificent talent?
Will RDS decide to cease operations if Lecavalier heads to a team south of the border? Would Francois Gagnon ever recover ?
Does this feel like 2008 to anyone else?
Let's take a look at the teams remaining on Lecavalier's shortlist:
The Boston Bruins:
Boston seems like a very unlikely destination for Lecavalier. Not only do they already have an underperforming player with a French name (
Daigle... err... Seguin), they also don't have the cap space to pull it off.
The Philadelphia Flyers:
Philly absolutely needs better defense, and some form of goaltending. The last thing they need is a declining centre. Which means they are probably doing all they can to land the 6'4 centre on a long-term deal. If they do manage to sign him to a long term deal, expect him to be shipped out of town during his first season with the team.
The Dallas Stars:
Dallas has cap space, an owner that is willing to spend, and they need a guy like Lecavalier. Dallas provides the low-key situation and warm weather that Vinny is used to, as well. It makes way too much sense for him to go there, go ahead and strike Dallas off your shortlist for possible destinations.
The Kanata Sens:
The Kanata Senators are, as usual, nowhere near salary cap. Unfortunately for Sens fans, their owner is basically Jeremy Jacobs, but without the money. Their internal cap of $13.5M will handcuff them, and ensure that Lecavalier doesn't make the
Palladium, Corel Centre, Ottawa House of Boredom and Silence, ScotiaBank Place, Canadian Tire Centre his home.
The Buffalo Sabres:
Vincent has the size to fit into Buffalo's 'Moar Bigger' strategy, but unfortunately he has way too much skill. The Sabres are focused on what matters most; look for Buffalo to lock up John Scott long term.
The Toronto Maple Leafs:
Toronto needs a centre. Well, they have two that can play hockey, so they do not necessarily need a centre, but any outside observer can see that they need a centre that does play decent hockey. Lecavalier would be a perfect fit in Toronto, however they are busy trying to build a time machine, so they can go back to last summer and sign the dominant centerman known as Tyler Bozak to a 12-year deal.
The Detroit Red Wings:
Detroit still hasn't accepted that Lidstrom is retired, and who can blame them? Look for the Red Wings to make a big push for Lecavalier, despite having ECHL quality defenders on their blue line. Also, we must not forget that the Chevy Cavalier comes from Detroit. Coincidence? Absolutely, but the car puns would be endless, and for that fact alone we should be rooting for the Red Wings to land Lecavalier.
The Québec Coyotes:
Québec will be looking to add some French talent to their lineup in anticipation to the opening game at the Colisée Pepsi. Vincent would look good in a Québec jersey, and would benefit from practice at the Jos. Louis arena, and workouts at the newly-renovated Labatt 50 gym.
The Magnitogorsk Metallurg:
Most assume that Vincent is not looking for a huge payday, after all he just got bought out for over $33M. That being said, his asking price is almost in Mikhail Grabovski territory, which means he has money on the mind, and it opens up the possibility that a KHL team might pony up some
mob oil money to secure his arrival to Mother Russia.
That about does it for the list of possible destinations for Lecavalier. I don't think I missed any teams on his shortlist.
Where do you think Vinny will take his talents? It certainly won't be to South Beach, that much I can assure you.
Will he surprise us all and head to the Rangers? Doubtful, Glen Sather never spends lavishly on declining players.
All I do know, is by the time Lecavalier chooses a team to play for next year, Brian Lawton will assert that he once had a deal in place to send Vincent to Montreal for Subban, Price, the secret recipe to a great smoked meat poutine, the Bell Centre, parts of Laval & future considerations.