2013 NHL Free Agency Report: Tampa Bay Lightning

Vincent Lecavalier

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Vincent Lecavalier marks the end of an era. The 33-year-old veteran had given so much to the franchise over the years, including the all-important Stanley Cup title in the early aughts, but he’s getting on in age a little bit on a Tampa Bay Lightning team that is rebuilding under a new head coach.

So they move forward.

But it has to sting a bit for Lightning fans to see Lecavalier join forces across the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Flyers, even if their team did buy out Lecavalier’s contract. His new deal worth $22.5 million over five years makes it hard to feel bad for him, but it’s still hard not to root for the guy even in a new uniform.

“My mom took it pretty hard,” Lecavalier said in his first media conference call as a Flyer, via USA TODAY Sports. “My wife as well. We all enjoyed it there (in Tampa). It’s a good organization. … There was a lot of thinking of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. I’ve never been in that situation before. That’s why I wanted to meet with a lot of teams.”

Tampa Bay must move on though, and the early free-agency signing of forward Valtteri Filppula from the Detroit Red Wings certainly helps in that regard. Filppula might not have as prolific a goal-scoring resume as Lecavalier but does give them more in the way of getting back to battle on the defensive end.

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