Who wants Vinny? It's a tough question to find an answer to. If General Manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers want to cut loose the dead weight Vincent Lecavalier became last season they're going to have to take a hit to do it. With 4 more seasons of being paid an average hit of $4.5 million against the salary cap it's clear that something absolutely must be done to find a way out.
It was a shame that Lecavalier crashed and burned so hard because I think everyone was fairly excited about the signing at first. I mean the term was worrisome, but there was a TON of interest in him from a lot of teams. Supply and demand. Lecavalier was a franchise player once.. not that anyone expected that.. but it was entirely possible he could have fit in with Schenn and Simmonds on the 2nd unit, maybe even slid into Hartnell's spot on Giroux's wing, but alas nothing worked. Absolutely nothing. It seemed his legs were at times absent from this dimension of time and space entirely and he thusly could not move.
Potential Suitors Unlucky Teams Showing Interest
BSH's own Travis Hughes was keen on the idea of sending Vinny to Nashville for a reunion with ex-Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. It was apparently Laviolette that pushed management to acquire his services in the first place and after Pete was shown the door and the season wore on it became clear that Berube didn't have a place for Vinny in the top-6. Eventually not even the top-9 forwards!
Nashville are not really as cap-friendly a team as you would think. Not anymore. That's partially the fault of our very own Paul Holmgren and his almost-signing (via offer sheet) of Shea Weber. He shackled Nashville with a 14-year $110M pair of handcuffs. With Weber and Rinne on the books for close to $15 million per season the Predators were roughly $5 million from the salary cap last year. That's pretty tight for a team that finished 10 points out of a playoff spot. So they may be interested, but Philly would have to retain salary in this scenario. That has to be a concern in these negotiations and Hextall will want to avoid retained salary. If he can (re: unlikely).
There were rumours circling the Twitter-verse recently of the Sabres courting the idea of using a buyout to gain further 1st Round picks in the upcoming draft. There's no guarantee those talks were between Sabres GM Tim Murray and Hextall, or another team, but it's definitely possible. The premise is a simple yet genius way of two teams getting what they want.
The Flyers would trade Lecavalier and their 1st Round selection at the upcoming draft to Buffalo. Buffalo would send back their 2nd, or 3rd Round pick (or some other asset) to the Flyers. Murray and Sabres would then buy Lecavalier out of his contract. If this was done straight-up the Sabres would owe Lecavalier $8 million over 8 years.. which they won't do. Surely the Flyers will have to pick up some of that slack (although I don't know how a retained salary buy-out would work). BUT the big thing here is the cap-hit for Buffalo would be 1.5 - 3 - 3 - 2.5 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 (8 seasons). With just $38 million committed to 16 player salaries for next season the Sabres will need to work hard to reach the $52 million+ cap floor for next season. Lecavalier's cap hit via buy-out might actually give them MORE flexibility to try a combination of younger guys with base salaries as their core of prospects grows.
For the same salary cap reasons as above, the Flames may be a team interested in a draft-picks-for-buyout scenario. Plus Brian Burke is an idiot who loves big bodies. That said Lecavalier might actually work better in the West at this stage in his career where the game is more physical. Who knows?
The Sens have come up in the conversation but with the way their running their organization lately I would almost feel bad for sending Lecavalier there. They embarrassed themselves with the 3-year $10M offer to Hemsky, and their captain Spezza is basically telling them to go screw themselves. Owner Eugene Melnyk is notoriously cheap so if this were possible we would definitely see 50% salary retention.
There's a chance that Lecavalier wouldn't mind fading back into the obscurity of the world of Florida hockey. A lot of speculators have been citing Sunrise as a potential relocation scenario for Vinny. Not to mention their leading scorer was Bjugstad with 38pts. Surely Lecavalier could provide them with some sort of offensive boost.
Those are the only things I've heard, but feel free to share your own rumours, or scenarios. Be they far-fetched or plausible.