The other day, I got into a conversation with another guy about the Philadelphia Flyers‘ need for Vincent Lecavalier. It got me thinking: do the Flyers really need him, or could the boys from broad street be in a much better situation without him? It is important to look at this from all angles because Lecavalier does bring both positives and negatives to the Flyers.
First, let’s examine what the positives are. For starters, he has veteran leadership. Lecavalier is a guy who has been in plenty of pressure-packed situations and has appeared in six Stanley Cup Playoffs with a ring under his belt. He is also a shoo-in to add 20 or more goals. The last time he scored less than 20 was two seasons ago during the shortened season, so technically that does not count. If that was a full season, he probably would have scored at least 20 goals.
He scored 10 in 39 games. Beyond that, you would have to go all the way back to his rookie season when he scored 13 goals. He also brings plenty of size on the offense. At 6-foot-4, Lecavalier is the biggest forward the Flyers currently posses.
Here’s the burning question though; are all those things good enough to pay him $18 million over the next four seasons?
To make things short and sweet, absolutely not. Unfortunately for Vinny, he is not playing up to those standards. When you compare some of the league’s elite players to him, he is just flat-out awful. Lecavalier’s health is definitely on a downslope. The last time he played in at least 70 games was the 2009-10 season.
Inconsistent play also plagued him quite a bit this past season. Lecavalier found himself on the fourth-line for an extended period of time. In the 2011-12 season, he played 64 games and fired 182 shots. This past season, he played in five more games, but had 50 fewer shots. Play like that is what made him play alongside some of the scrubs on the team.
Contrary to his experience, he sure did not play like a veteran leader in the Flyers’ most recent playoff stint, posting only two points and a plus/minus rating of -5. It is hard to blame Vinny for biting on the contract that was thrown at him. He knew he was overpaid from the beginning, and he did the same thing anyone else in his situation would. If you ask me, the Flyers got extremely desperate.
Already strapped for cash, the orange and black would be smart to try and eat some of the remaining salary of Lecavalier’s contract and move him. If they can do that, they will give themselves a much-needed financial boost and get rid of a guy who gets in the way more than he helps out.