Rumor Roundup: Lecavalier’s future in Philadelphia in question

Vincent Lecavalier hasn’t quite found the fit he was looking for with the Philadelphia Flyers, but with three years remaining on his contract at $4.5 million per season, it might be tough for the Flyers to find a new home for the veteran centre. In Carolina, GM Ron Francis has made it clear that Jordan Staal isn’t going anywhere.
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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn't believe he needs to make many off-season moves. Hextall claims there won't be a massive turnover, though Carchidi notes the Flyers have limited cap space this summer unless they can shed some salaries.

Topping the list of those who could be moved is unhappy forward Vincent Lecavalier, who has three years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Lecavalier, 34, has been largely consigned to fourth-line duty this season when he hasn't been a healthy scratch.

A report in the Philadelphia Daily News suggests the Flyers' first preference is to trade Lecavalier. With $12 million of his $22.5 million already paid out, the veteran center could be attractive to small-market clubs. A buyout is an option, though it would cost the Flyers $1.75-million annually in dead cap space for the next six seasons. Lecavalier could also retire, though that's not an option he considers palatable.

Lecavalier's salary and declining production leaves most observers doubting Hextall can trade him this summer, but NJ.com's Randy Miller believes it's possible. Miller cites sources saying the Flyers were close to shipping Lecavalier to the Florida Panthers before the 2014 NHL draft, and to the Nashville Predators in early-July. Miller claims the respective owners of the Panthers and Predators nixed the deals.

While Lecavalier had some value last year, the decline in his play this season won't make it any easier to move him this summer. With only 18 points in 52 games entering this week, it will be difficult for Hextall or Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes to drum up interest in the fast-fading star.

Miller also reports Hughes suggests his client might be willing to retire before his contract expires if the right opportunity arose to go to a new team where he could end his career on his terms. The notion of only having to pick up a year or two of Lecavalier's remaining contract could boost his trade value. It could improve further if the Flyers are willing to pick up part of his remaining contract.

As trading Lecavalier would be a salary-dumping move, the Flyers won't want much in return. Perhaps a draft pick, a prospect or an affordable young player might suffice.

Lecavalier's performance could improve with the Flyers if they replace current head coach Craig Berube this summer. Even if that happens, however, Hextall will likely shop around this summer for someone to take Lecavalier's contract off his hands.

JORDAN STAAL NOT GOING ANYWHERE, SAYS FRANCIS

A mid-February report claiming the Pittsburgh Penguins were interested in reacquiring center Jordan Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes created considerable buzz in the trade rumor mill. The speculation prompted Hurricanes GM Ron Francis to issue a terse statement claiming his club was not trading Staal.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Jason Mackey reports Staal acknowledged he heard the rumors at the time. The 26-year-old center also claims he never requested a trade. Francis also told Staal he had no intention of moving him.

It's possible Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who as Hurricanes GM brought Staal to Carolina via trade, contacted Francis to inquire about the center's availability. If we take Francis at his word, Staal won't be going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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