The Detroit Red Wings were considered the front-runners to sign free agent forward Vincent Lecavalier for a brief moment, but in the end might be better off for not ending up with the former Stanley Cup champion in the fold. The Philadelphia Flyers have now worked out a deal with Lecavalier, and while it might be exciting to think about what might have been with him on the Red Wings’ second line, the team can now pursue cheaper, younger options.
One of the biggest drawbacks to signing Lecavalier was the contract he was seeking. The veteran center reportedly wanted around $5 million per season, on a five-year deal. The money wouldn’t have been a huge sticking point for the Red Wings, but the length of the contract could have created problems down the road. Lecavalier would be 38 years old at the five year mark, and while there is little argument he’s worth the price tag right now, the chances he might still be at the end of the deal are much slimmer.
On top of any contract issues, there’s also the fact that the Red Wings already have more forwards signed than they have room for. The team appears set on letting center Valtteri Filppula test the waters in free agency, and while replacing him with Lecavalier was an interesting idea, other options (like Stephen Weiss) would allow the Red Wings to add a second line center while also re-signing forwards Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andesson.
With Filppula on his way out, there is a definite need for a skilled scoring threat to center the Red Wings’ second line. Lecavalier could have been a good fit on a short-term deal, but as things shift younger in Detroit the team was wise to stay away from a long-term deal with the aging star. Lecavalier has struggled to stay healthy while battling a decline in production in recent seasons, and time will tell if he’s a good fit with the Flyers.