When the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out Vincent Lecavalier towards the end of last week, the speculation instantly ran rampant as to where he would continue his potential Hall of Fame career. Almost instantly, and as expected, that speculation turned to the Montreal Canadiens.
A Quebec native, folks in Montreal have been dreaming of Lecavalier suiting up for the Habs for years. So it makes sense that they were among the first teams mentioned for him, and also among the teams that met with him over the weekend after he was bought out and eligible to begin doing so.
But as for whether or not the Habs will see that Lecavalier dream realized, it’s likely going to come up a disappointment for Montreal. From a personnel standpoint, and a financial standpoint, the Habs may simply not have room for Lecavalier, despite a positive meeting over the weekend.
The Canadiens aren’t necessarily in a position where they absolutely need a center. In fact, the Habs are quite deep in the middle. Between Lars Eller, Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, and even Alex Galchenyuk, throwing big money at Lecavalier doesn’t appear to be the right move for Montreal.
That ‘big money’ aspect is another deterrent from a potential Lecavalier pursuit for Montreal. He’s going to command a longer term contract of at least $5 million a year. The Habs have some cap space to play around with, but handing over half of it to a player on the decline, at a position that isn’t a big need, wouldn’t be an intelligent move by Marc Bergevin, no matter how much of a hometown hero Lecavalier may be.
That’s the interesting aspect of this. Lecavalier is only 33, but has a lot of mileage. He’s dealt with some injuries in the last few years, and has seen his performance decline, along with his ice time. Looking at all the factors, it just doesn’t make enough sense for the Canadiens to sign Lecavalier, despite their interest in him.
Now, if Lecavalier will take a discount to play in Montreal, both in terms of dollars and years, then it’s a different story. In such a case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the long time Bolts captain end up sporting a Habs sweater next season. But at this point, Vinny Lecavalier seems like nothing more than a pipedream for the citizens of Montreal.