There will be a lot of talk around the NHL in the coming days about players being bought out before free agency begins on July 5, and there is one player that seems to be heading down that path that really shouldn’t be.
The Tampa Bay Lightning could be considering buying out the final years on the contract of Vincent Lecavalier. He has the eighth-highest salary cap hit in the NHL at $7.727 million next season but Tampa Bay should really not make this move.
I know that they want to free up some money to make other moves and already have the No. 3 pick in Sunday’s NHL Draft. They have to pay that money at some point to that player and while Lecavalier is under contract under 2020, they shouldn’t release the captain of the team.
Lecavalier is still productive and scored 32 points in 39 games this season. The cap hit is huge obviously and someone probably has to go after how bad the team was this season.
The player who is bought out shouldn’t be Lecavalier though. Tampa Bay should take their chances with him and see if the team can turn things around next year. This is a team that still has Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. If they give up on their longest-tenured player now, their are basically giving up on next season.
I’m sure the fans feel somewhat similarly. It is a business though, and Tampa Bay will do whatever they want in this scenario. I think a player like Ryan Malone, who is scheduled to make $4.5 million next year, is a much better option for the buyout.