Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vinny's Last Game in Tampa Bay?

1) Has Vincent Lecavalier suited up for Tampa Bay for the last time? As the Lightning play their final home game this evening against Washington might it be the last time the star center is part of the Bolt's organization? Our sources tell us what many have also been saying; Its almost a guarantee that Lecavalier will be dealt by or on draft day. Its no coincidence that the draft will be held in Montreal. So any possible deal, even if its consummated earlier may be left to be announced on draft day for increased publicity, etc. The way this season is turning out for the Habs they might need all the positive publicity they can get.

2) So why are the Lightning going to trade a player they just signed last summer? Money! The 12 year extension will pay Lecavalier 10 million for the next 7 seasons after his one. More importantly, it includes a no trade clause that kicks in on July 1st. Thus the need to get this done BEFORE 7/1/09, else Vinny's a Bolt for life (unless he were to waive the clause at some point). So why did the team even sign Lecavalier to the extension in the first place? Good question. TB owners Oren Koules wanted to make a big splash when they first took over. They felt the new coach, Stamkos, new Free agents and getting their star signed long term would signal to the fans that they were going to be here and contending for the long term. Unfortunately for them the team fizzled out quickly, and so did the national economy. Hurting the ownerships bottom lines to the point that they traded away two injured players on deadline day (Kolzig/Heward) to Toronto for a 4th round pick to save 400K!

3) So can Montreal fit Vinny's into their salary structure? We asked and we were told "absolutely". The Habs have many UFA's after this season. Specifically Kovolev, Lang, and Koivu who combined account for 14 million in salary may have played their last games in Quebec, or may have to take pay cuts to return. Additionally Gainey is trying to deal Georges Laraque or possibly buy the oft injured enforcer out.

4) So what will the Habs part with to get LeCavalier? It may not be as much as you would think. As one western scout told us, "Its very rare to get equal value back when you trade a super star". Ask the Bruins and the Joe Thornton trade how that works! Probably a few draft picks will come Tampa's way. This years 1st and maybe next years as well. Chris Higgins and maybe the younger Kostitsyn brother. Our analysis is this. Montreal may appear to win the deal, but we don't see Vinny bringing a Cup back to his home town. The Habs and Vinny too will soon regret this deal, we say sooner rather than later!

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