By Allan Muir
Someone needs to check with Paul Holmgren and make sure he got that memo about the salary cap going down next season.
You have to assume Philadelphia's GM either missed it or isn't very strong at math after sources began reporting that he had signed free agent forward Vincent Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million deal (not $23.5 as Tim Panaccio first reported below).
Lecavalier hit the market last week when Tampa Bay used one of its two compliance buyouts to cut ties with their former captain. He instantly became a hot commodity among teams looking to add some sizzle to their offense. After interviewing with nearly a dozen teams over the draft weekend, including Detroit, Boston, Dallas and Calgary, it appears he's settled on the Flyers.
The deal makes sense for Vinny. A $4.5 million average makes for a nice payday, especially on top of Tampa's free money, and he'll play with quality wingers (maybe Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn) on a team that should rebound from last season's debacle as long as the defense stays healthy.
But for the Flyers? Did Holmgren discover some sort of loophole in the CBA that allows them to ignore the cap? Before the deal, the Flyers had about $4.2 million worth of space for next season. This deal puts them over the line...right after they dug themselves out of cap hell by buying out Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov. Capgeek estimates the Flyers will be $318,000 over the salary cap. And they still have to find a legitimate replacement for Bryz.
I don't know anymore. Maybe Holmgren's just smarter than the rest of us.
Here's a little bit of genius from the great Kevin Dupont: