Jun 27th, 2013 | By | Category: Canadiens, Latest News

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Thursday morning they are buying Lecavalier’s contract for 32-million dollars.

Within minutes of the announcement, it started.   Fans and the media lobbying Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to sign Vincent Lecavalier, apparently at any cost.

But let’s just take a deep breath and hold it a second.

Sexy as the idea sounds, there are some things that are going to make Bergevin think twice before diving into what will inevitably become a bidding war.

lecavalier IICrossing Bergevin’s mind is the fact that Lecavalier is now 33.  An old 33.  It’s been four years since he played anything that closely resembles a full season. Over the years his medical record is lengthy;  last year a foot fracture, broken right hand in both 2010 and 2012.  Also wrist surgery plus ankle, knee and shoulder injuries.  (see below).  He’s missed 44 games the last three seasons.  

Then the issue comes down to how many years Lecavalier wants.  Is he looking for some kind of contract that will take him to the end of his career or is he prepared to accept a two or three year deal?

And most importantly, it’s clear that Bergevin has a long term game plan for building the Canadiens into a Stanley Cup contender.  He has clearly stated that the only free agents he’s interested in adding to his roster are of the ‘role player’ type; as in Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong.  Lecavalier definitely doesn’t fit in that category.

And if Lecavalier were added to the roster, who’s job does he take?  The Canadiens top three centres last season were Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais and Lars Eller.  I would expect that somewhere around the middle of next season, Michel Therrien will start trying Alex Galchenyuk at the position on a semi-regular basis.

All of this said, there are some things that will make Bergevin take a second look.  Primarily, while common sense tells us that the Canadiens are two or three years away from having the building blocks in place for a Stanley Cup contender, nobody plays to lose.  Lecavalier, under the right circumstances, would clearly improve the hockey team short term.  Mostly because of injuries, he’s no longer the overwhelming presence he was back when won the Rocket Richard Trophy with 52 goals in 2007.    He’s had to adjust his game but when healthy he can still use his 6’4″ size to open up space for himself and his linemates.  He can still skate, has a great shot and is still capable of a 60 or 70 point seasons.

I can see Bergevin taking a very close look and then making a contract offer. The idea of having a big centre in a Canadiens lineup for the first time since Bobby Smith back in the 80’s, and a hometown guy to boot, is going to be too much of a temptation.  But, as P.K. Subban found in January, Bergevin has very clear limits to his enthusiasm.   I can see him putting a three year contract offer on the table at around five million per season.  Unless Lecavalier wants to take some kind of hometown discount, it’s not going to be enough.  There are too many general managers out there who don’t possess Bergevin’s self-discipline.

Ultimately, Lecavalier will be finishing his career somewhere other than Montreal.


Lecavalier’s Career Injuries/Contracts 


Contract bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Missed 9 games (lower body injury).


Lower body injury, injured reserve.


Missed 18 games (broken right hand).


Broken right hand, injured reserve.


Broken right hand, day-to-day.


Missed 1 game (undisclosed).


Undisclosed, day-to-day.


Missed 15 games (broken right hand).


Broken right hand, injured reserve.


Missed 1 game (right hand injury).


Right hand injury, day-to-day.


Missed the last 5 games of the regular season (wrist surgery).


Wrist surgery, remainder of the regular season.


Re-signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 11-year contract extension.


Missed the last game of the regular season (shoulder injury).


Shoulder injury, remainder of the regular season.


Missed 1 game (upper body injury).


Upper body injury, day-to-day.


Suspended by the NHL for one game for a highsticking incident.


Re-signed as a restricted free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning to a four-year contract.


NHL lockout: Signed with the Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian League.


Suspended by the NHL for one game.


Missed 2 games (sprained right knee).


Sprained right knee, early November.


Sprained right knee, sidelined indefinitely.


Missed 4 games (chipped bone in left ankle).


Chipped bone in left ankle, day-to-day.


Re-signed by the TampaBay Lightning.


Missed 14 games (fractured left foot).


Fractured left foot, sidelined indefinitely.


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