Friday, January 29, 2010


I know this has grown extremely tiresome, but the talk of Vincent Lecavalier possibly being available on the trade market again obliges me to at least re-hash something I wrote way back in July, just a few weeks after the Canadiens acquired Scott Gomez.

First of all, for those of you haven't read the story in The Hockey News, there is talk of selling the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Boston hedge fund manager in order to get it out of the clearly inept hands of Oren Koules and Len Barrie. The story is citing anonymous sources - which means your grain of salt should be nearby - but it states that should the sale go through to Jeffrey Vinik, he would want to shed salary immediately.

Which brings us back to Lecavalier.

He is in the first year of an 11-year, $85 million deal that pays him $10 million per season for the next seven years, and only $15 million total over the final four years of the deal. Of course, since signing that lucrative extension, Lecavalier's stock has dropped tremendously, but probably not nearly as much as people think.

He turns 30 on April 21, and for a player that is supposedly already washed up and hampered by injury problems, Lecavalier's having a pretty good season, even at that salary. So far, he has 52 points in 52 games after a slow start. Over the past 25 games, he has 30 points.

My theory back in July still stands today, in my opinion, that the salary cap hit for Lecavalier and Scott Gomez are so similar that a deal seems like a natural match. Lecavalier has a cap hit of $7.73 million per year, while Gomez is at $7.36 million.

So how does that help this new owner, if indeed he is one? Well, over the remaining five years of Gomez's contract he will make $16.5 million less in actual salary than Lecavalier will, seeing as Gomez's deal with the New York Rangers was front-loaded as well.

Gomez only has 35 points in 51 games this season, but he had an extremely slow start and has come on of late with 17 points over his last 16 games. Still, Montreal would likely have to add a piece to the puzzle, and with team president Pierre Boivin blabbing to some businessmen that Jaroslav Halak will be traded within weeks, I would think that would be a perfect throw in to make it worth Tampa's while, seeing as their goaltending situation is a bit unstable in spite of Antero Niittymaki's shutout the other night. Getting Halak would also be a bonus because the real value in the deal is the $16.5 million saved over the next five years, and being able to crawl out from under the final six years of Lecavalier's deal.

You can do worse than to have Gomez as a second line centre behind the electrifying Steven Stamkos, especially if you get an affordable, young starting goalie in the deal as well. At least that's what Brian Lawton can tell his fans.

Meanwhile, back in Montreal, the pro-Halak half of the city would likely be appeased in knowing that a big, Francophone, superstar centre is on his way to town. Suddenly, Carey Price wouldn't be so bad after all.


Anonymous said...

Wow. We would be thrilled to have him play for us. A local from the West Island. French or English - who cares, a local is good. Sweet!

john deere said...

If Tampa wants to make a deal and Vinny is OK with it I say make it a straight up deal for Gomez or get Tampa to throw in a couple of prospects. Montreal is in the drivers seat so we should make them pay a little extra for the pleasure of dealing with the greatest hockey franchise ever.

If Tampa wants to make this deal I don't see whether Halak is thrown in is a deal breaker. Vinny has a no movement clause so Tampa will more or less have to accept any deal where Vinny agrees to go to.

pfhabs said...


-it's taken some time for most to admit that the Gomez contract is a killer BUT now somehow a longer term and bigger contract is better because it involves a player from chez vous

-give your heads a shake montreal. I thought after a year of another mediocre team but top notch marketing schemes you have learned your lesson that selling more jerseys doesn't win a Cup

-apprently not...when will you ever 4 years with another 7 to go ?

john deere said...

Maybe we should trade Cammalleri to Tampa Bay instead?

As long as the team is competitive and plays a skilled, fast game I'm not so concerned whether we win the Cup or not. However, when we get into the playoffs I want to have a real shot at winning a couple of playoff rounds, something our present team can't deliver.

MathMan said...

Do the Habs want Lecavalier?

There's a class of fans that will want him, but IMHO it's not an automatic slam-dunk that Vinny is actually better than Gomez as an overall hockey player (Vinny is not exactly the world's best defensive player) and even if he is or the fit is better, you still have that massive contract to factor into the equation. In five years, Gomez comes off the books, but whoever has Lecavalier can look forward to paying a 34-year-old forward with an injury history a Gomez-like contract. And there's the question of how Vinny would perform under a defensive coach, whereas Gomez was raised by the Devils, not by Tortorella.

I dunno. There are many ways in which this could actually be an opportunity for a monumental mistake.

By the way... How come they had to give Vinny 11 years at 7.7 million to get him to sign? Hossa is a better player than Vinny, but when the Hawks signed him, they extended him to 12 years so his cap number would go down to a manageable size. For Vinny, while the contract is front-loaded, it did not serve to reduce the cap hit (he's probably worth slightly less than his hit at present). The point of going long-term is usually to save on cap but Vinny got both cap and term. It does look like either Tampa's GM had a severe brain cramp or Vinny took some convincing to stay in Tampa.

Anonymous said...

Vinny is a bum... I'll pass

Beeg said...

I agree with mathman. If anything, the Habs should be getting the throw-in, since Lecavalier's contract would haunt them longer than Gomez's (both the extra years against the cap and the actual salary payout).

If Gainey is going to move Gomez, he actually has to take a play out of Glen Sather's (!) book and ship him off for spare parts, i.e., cap space. Sadly he won't have Bob Gainey to deal with.

Anyhow, all the buzz around Plekanec's looming free agency can teach us that Gomez is actually a pretty decent player. At this stage in his career he's certainly an upgrade on Koivu and he's one of the few Canadiens to provide some entertainment at the Bell Centre this year. Fast forward two to three years, though, and thinks look really bleak. The Gomez and Gionta contracts could be serious albatrosses, unless Gainey can put together consistent third and fourth lines and shore up the defence.

Bryne said...

Why stop at 'throwing in' Halak. Go all the way & have Pierre Boivin toss himself in as well.

Dain said...

Oy oy oy. Let's imagine for a second that Bob Gainey decides this is a great idea, and pulls the trigger. Now, let's fast-forward to 2018, when Vinny is still on the books, with no end in sight. What kind of blogs are you going to be writing about him then? I'd imagine you'd be racking your brain for more half-baked schemes on how the Habs GM can get this franchise-killing contract off the books. Be honest - you will be, won't you.
Right now, his salary might be justifiable. But guess what - Vinny at 7 million+ will be untradeable within 2 years from now. And right now, this is a Cup-winning captain, a tall, talented centreman and former Richard trophy winner, and he's probably the 3rd option on his team to be an Olympic replacement. This is someone you want on the Habs for another decade? I'm flabbergasted. I've got a better idea - let Sather trade for him and torpedo that franchise for the next decade. Or leave him in Tampa, and maybe that'll be the catalyst to Florida hockey finally packing its tent up.

Anonymous said...

Your second last blog on Price was beyond the pale.

You are so out of order.

It is NOT Price's job to talk to you, or be available for the media. It is his job to play goal for the Habs.

The boy is like 22 years old, and you whine about him. Get it into your head, he’s playing goal for the MontrĂ©al Canadiens. That is quite enough responsibility.

I have enjoyed your bog for the most part, but the blog on price was so wrong.

Stick to your job, report on what happens on the ice. I really don’t give one shit if price is available to talk to you or not. He’s a fine young goalie for the Habs. That is all I care about.

Get your act together. Report the game. Stop reporting about yourself. I don’t care.


jkr said...

If, and I really mean if, Montreal does this deal why should they be the ones to sweeten the pot. It would get an awful contract off the books for TB & give them enormous cash relief. They should be the ones adding to a package. Sweetening the pot to get VL sounds like something Rejean Houle would do. (:

john deere said...

Watched the Toronto/New Jersey game last night and I feel that Plekanec would be a perfect fit with the Parise and 20 storm troopers ( a journalist coined that phrase) format they employ there.

Even though Vinny has 10 years left on his contract, the last three years are for only $6.5 million combined. Which makes it not that bad of a deal ( after 7 years he should be easy to trade). I really like keeping the Gomez line and trading Cammelleri instead to free up space for Vinny. Vinny has a NMC so he has to decide and agree to where he wants to go.

It looks like we are in 5th from the bottom now and if we end up in 4th from the bottom (if we trade Halak that should be easy) we have a 10% chance at Hall and a 30% chance at picking third (and likely getting Tyler Sequin).

pfhabs said...

Beeg & anyone else thinking Gomez is an upgrade to Koivu

1.Gomez:51GP;7G/28A,-1( 0.69/gm), $7.357 cap hit

Koivu:46GP;10G/19A,+7 (0.63/gm), $3.250 cap hit

-where's the upgrade ?????????

2. in 6 years prior to this season Gomez scored 28 more points than Koivu but played 27 more games

-the upgrade bull comes from Gainey not the facts

John Deere:

-Vinny's cap hit is $7.727 for all 11 years regardless of his actually salary. it's actually harder to trade him further into the deal assuming degradation of skill and physical capabilities

john deere said...

The NHL salary cap has two limits: a minimum and a maximum. You are quite correct about the maximum but for teams that want to spend under the minimum salary cap someone like Lecavalier is like money in the bank. Having him at the end of his contract you would be able to spend $1 million or $1.5 million on his salary and claim the $7.727 million against the cap. Which means that their actual payroll costs would only be $34 million per year and they would be able to meet the league minimum standards which, I think, is $40.8 million.

I don't see Lecavalier waiving his NMC to come to Montreal,btw (or Toronto,lol). I would think L.A. or San Jose would suit him much better. As long as Gainey doesn't overpay for him. If Bob gets stupid in the head I would think that would be grounds for immediate dismissal.

pfhabs said...

yep your example shows cash flow vs cap hit ...interesting

what more does gainey have to show concernng his aaaaah acumen ?wasn't Gomez's contract a $7.357 cap hit, trading away McDonagh plus Valentenko & Higgins and taking yourself out of Gaborik talks indication enough ? remember Gomez was on the block for at least 1/2 last season w/o any takers

-no Bob would take the salary and then send players the other way including top prospects and roster guys

MathMan said...

pfhabs: A bit of perspective in the Gainey-bashing, please. He never took himself out of Gaborik talks with the Gomez deal. If Gaborik and the Habs had had any interest to sign a contract together, there was plenty of space as Cammalleri and Gionta hadn't been signed.

pfhabs said...

and you know the exact timing of when those deals were offered and accepted do you ? lock-step in your mind I suppose

once the over $7 million was spent on Gomez another $7+ million man was out of the question

my perspective stands

john deere said...

Maybe we could get Mats Naslund to be our general manager.

pfhabs said...

the Little Viking was last player to score 100 points for CH...we've dropped a long way for a long time but the Gainey apologists will have you believe everything is okee dokee

give the man his due for his efforts and move on or watch from the sidelines

with the possibility of Cammalleri being out with MCL and the team already dressing only 20 (the minimum) because of cap tightness no big time replacement coming unless you trade away more cap than you take on

the sins of last july are coming home to roost but everything is okee dokee

MathMan said...

pfhabs: Uh, yeah. The timing of the deal is public, it's not like there's any secret to it. Gomez was traded for on June 30th. Gaborik was available for signing on July 1st, just like all other free agents (such as Cammalleri and Gionta). Gainey, at the opening of free agent day, had enough money to sign Gaborik if he chose to pursue him and if Gaborik was interested (big if, there) even with Gomez on his roster.

Of course, then he would have been unable to sign one of Cammalleri or Gionta, but you have to make choices in a cap world. Incidentally Gaborik has slowed down considerably and providing him with a center proved difficult for the Rangers. Ironically, they could really have used Gomez to feed Gaborik...

pfhabs said...

I stand corrected. brain on neutral there

perhaps they thought Gaborik was still brittle but 62 points in 53 games w/o injury was quite a miss in hindsight. win some/lose some

pfhabs said...

I stand corrected. brain on neutral there

perhaps they thought Gaborik was still brittle but 62 points in 53 games w/o injury was quite a miss in hindsight. win some/lose some