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.