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Flyers trade rumors 2015: Will anybody actually take Vincent Lecavalier?

Can the Flyers salvage any value from their most recent free agent fiasco?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There are few, if any Flyers fans who would have major qualms about trading Lecavalier at the NHL trade deadline. From the start his tenure in Philadelphia has been underwhelming at best and outright detrimental to the team at worst. Given that he is 34 years old, the former superstar is only going to depreciate in value moving forward.

The question isn't really should the Flyers trade Lecavalier, it's can they trade Lecavalier to anyone?

The case for trading Vinny

Signed at $4.5 million AAV until the offseason of 2018, his contract is the proverbial albatross hanging around Ron Hextall's neck. He has struggled to earn his way out of the press box on an ultimately mediocre team.

In his first year with the Flyers, Vinny was able to at least hit the 20 goal mark. This season, with 7 goals through 44 games, he'll be lucky to break 15. At that cap hit and level of performance, finding a GM willing to take a chance on Vinny would be a gift.

If a team offers Hextall any assets in return for Lecavalier, it's a no brainer. Take the deal and open up the much needed cap space.

But it's almost a guarantee that the Flyers would need to retain 50% his salary, the maximum allowed under the CBA. Even then, Lecavalier's multi-year term remaining is substantial enough to scare away your typical deadline suitors.

It's conceivable that the Flyers could pull a reverse Sam Hinkie: paying assets for a rebuilding team to take Lecavalier off their hands. It might be worth it to rid themselves of a long term detriment.

Here's the caveat: Lecavalier's surprisingly transformed into a useful player this season.

The case for keeping Vinny

Lecavalier's second season in Philadelphia began much like the first one, with injuries and poor play leading to some disastrous even strength numbers and non-existent production. At his low point, he was a healthy scratch for seven straight games.

It wasn't until late December that head coach Craig Berube finally found a fit for Lecavalier in his lineup. Vinny was moved from center to right wing on the Flyers 4th line featuring 29 year old rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and AHL call-up Chris VandeVelde.

Rolling 10 Game CF% Rel courtesy of

During their brief time together, the trio became one of the Flyers most effective 5v5 lines. Despite retaining their moniker as the "4th line", Chief loaded them up with zone starts and competition comparable to a middle-6 scoring line.

This is as close to getting full value out of Vinny's contract as the Flyers are probably ever going to get. So of course, Vinny is now sitting in the press box in favor of Zac Rinaldo.

If the Flyers do the inconceivable and make the playoffs, Lecavalier could provide those quality minutes again. Getting any sort of on-ice value out of Lecavalier is preferable to trading him for nothing, or worse.

The verdict

The Flyers have been actively trying to work a deal for Lecavalier since the 2014 draft to no avail. Retaining salary will only serve to dampen his impact on the Flyers long term cap troubles and in all likelihood Ron Hextall won't be able to get a satisfactory return for his services at the deadline anyway. Lecavalier has enough value in supplanting Zac Rinaldo in the lineup that it's worth keeping him around until the off-season.