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Lacavalier is Going to the Flyers

by Photo of Antoinette Cammarano

Vincent Lecavalier, one of the most sought after UFA in the NHL, signed a contract with the Flyers this morning.

Lacavalier is Going to the Flyers

Well, that didn't take long.

The Philadelphia Flyers have officially signed unrestricted free agent Vincent Lecavalier to a multi-year contract this morning. Lecavalier was one of the most sought after free agents in the NHL at the end of the 2012-2013 season, and had as many a dozen teams looking to sign him at the beginning of the week.

Lecavalier, former captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was bought out of the remaining seven years of his contract in Tampa Bay; the team he has spent all 14 years of his NHL career with will now pay him $32.667 million over the next 14 years. Even if Lecavalier had not signed a contract with another team immediately, he would have been pretty set with around $2.3 million coming in every year. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

The Flyers have offered Lecavalier a pretty hefty price tag in order to sign his name onto their roster for next season. The contract is reportedly standing at $22.5 million for 5 years at $4.5 million a year. Add that up to the money he can expect from the Lightning, and Lecavalier is sitting pretty right now. The Flyers have added a no-movement clause to the contract. A no-movement clause means that Lecavalier cannot be traded, waived for a claim by another team, or assigned to the minors without his consent; however, this clause does not protect Lecavalier from being bought out in the future.

The center was an attractive target for many teams looking for a player who could score goals and play consistently. Lecavalier has averaged 27 goals per season throughout his career. In the 2012-2013 season, Lecavalier finished with 10 goals and 32 points in 32 games. For his entire career, Lecavalier has 383 goals and 874 points in 1.037 regular season games. Lecavalier was a member of the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay roster, where he scored 9 goals and finished with 19 points in that postseason.

In addition to his accomplishments on the ice, numerically speaking, Lecavalier has a few pieces of physical hardware to his name. There's the aforementioned Stanley Cup victory. Then there's the Rocket Richard Trophy, which Lecavalier won after the 2006-07 season after posting an NHL-best 52 goals and finishing in third in the points race with a total of 108 points. In 2008 Lecavalier received the King Clancy trophy, an award given to the NHL player who exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his hometown community. 

Now the Flyers just have to focus on finding a new goaltender. The franchise used it compliance buyout to buy goaltender Illya Bryzgalov out of the remaining 7 years of his contract. Bryzgalove will be paid $23 million over the next 14 years, averaging around $1.6 million a year. 

Acquiring Lecavalier was a smart move on the Flyers part, but in my opinion should not have been at the forefront of their attention. Currently without a starting goalie, and with a backup goalie who has not seen a lot ice-time this season in Steve Mason, the Flyers should be focusing their efforts on signing a goalie who can do more for them than the erratic Bryzgalov could. The most solid goaltender currently in the free agent pool is Ray Emery of the Chicago Blackhawks. Emery's 1-year contract with the team expired at the end of this season, and although he did not play in the Stanley Cup finals, Emery has a history of being an exceptional goaltender in Chicago.

Unfortunately for the Flyeres, the Blackhawks have reportedly began talks with Emery's agent into signing a contract extension for the 31-year-old goaltender. If the Flyers were to make a move on a solid player such as this, they had better act quickly.

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