Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette pushed hard for the Philadelphia Flyers to sign Vincent Lecavalier last summer when he was still coaching the Flyers. Laviolette had the joy of coaching the former Tampa Bay Lightning captain for all of three games before he was fired.
Now rumors are circulating that the Flyers are interested in trading Lecavalier and the four years and over $15 million remaining on his contract. Given that Laviolette is now in Nashville and the team needs a No. 1 center a possible match could exist, but should the Predators pursue it?
While Lecavalier has a tantalizing mix of skill and size, he is not without his faults. For starters, he has not scored 30 goals since 2008 nor has he played a full 82 games since 2010. At age 34 his best years are behind him, and he may not exactly fit the vision that Dave Poile and Laviolette have for the still very young, up and coming team.
Lecavalier’s albatross of a contract make such a trade undesirable for a small-market team like Nashville that has its own internal salary cap to worry about. Trading for an aging player who is owed as much money as Lecavalier makes no sense. Unless the Flyers agree to take on at least 15-20 percent of the contract (as the Vancouver Canucks did with Roberto Luongo), trading for Lecavalier borders on unfeasible.
While Nashville has a major need to upgrade the center position and Laviolette surely wants an established No. 1 center, Lecavalier is not the best fit for the team. The Predators are on a steady path back to being a playoff team in the Western Conference, and bringing in Lecavalier doesn’t improve the team enough to where it justifies taking ice time away from younger, still developing forwards.
With Paul Stastny a free agent and players such Jason Spezza and Ryan Kesler on the trading block, the Predators have plenty of options to improve their offensive production. Trading for an aging, oft-injured, fading star is far from the most viable of those options.