Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall has done some amazing things this offseason, but even he doesn’t have an answer for the Vincent Lecavalier problem.
The Flyers have spent the better part of two years trying to move the 35-year old and his ridiculous five-year, $22.5 million contract, of which Lecavalier has three years left, with no luck. Which means that unless someone suddenly decides that there roster isn’t complete without Vinny Lecavalier on it, he will be a member of the Flyers next season.
Which, for those keeping score at home, it not a good thing.
When Lecavalier originally joined the Flyers it was thought he would thrive under head coach Peter Laviolette and his focus on speed and offense. But after Laviolette was fired three games into the 2013-14 season, things changed dramatically when Craig Berube replaced Laviolette and instituted a scheme more about defense and patience.
The result was Lecavalier has one of his worst seasons as a pro in 2014-15, finishing the season with just 8 goals, 20 points and 12 assists in only 57 games. His time on the ice was cut and he was a healthy scratch 16 times last season since Berube had no faith in Lecavalier’s skills. It quickly became toxic when Berube was quoted as saying he felt that Lecavalier just wasn’t producing when given the chance.
The problem is that even now that Berube has been fired and replaced by Dave Hakstol, the situation hasn’t changed for the better for Lecavalier.
Lecavalier is too slow to play center anymore, is just incapable of playing on the left side and has had minimal success playing on the right. So what is a Hakstol supposed to do with a player that is well past his prime but is getting paid like a 22-year old All-Star? Hextall was hoping to be able to trade Lecavalier before it became an issue, but from all indications that isn’t going to happen.
Being able to move Lecavalier would solve many of the Flyers current problems. It would free up salary cap space and, combined with another veteran trade, would give the team flexability when it comes to the glut of defensemen currently on the roster.
For his part Hakstol has said he plans to go into training camp with an open mind and try not to prejudge any of the returning players, including Lecavalier.
“You can learn a lot from video, but you can’t learn everything from video. To me, it’s about the performances you see first-hand during training camp and it’s in discussions with our staff …
“You can overanalyze things. I’ll be blunt. That’s why I think I want to be careful about how much video … I’m trying to get familiar. I’m not trying to make decisions with video. I don’t like doing that. I’m trying to get a baseline of knowledge of everybody, but at the same time, I don’t want to overanalyze things. That’s just not my style. That’s not the way I want to do things.”
Can Vinny Lecavalier reinvent himself and stage a monumental comeback? He seems to think so, recently telling NHL.com:
“I’m still in shape. I really just want to get my chance. I am confident in my abilities and I move on.”
Regardless, it seems Lecavalier will get his chance, because apparently he isn’t going anywhere.
Much to the chagrin of Flyers fans everywhere.