Vinny on The Move?
Well, at least it's a break from the Mats Sundin story.
With seven weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline, it seems clear that Vinny Lecavalier will now be the name bounced around the most. Clearly, if Tampa Bay decides to move Lecavalier and his gigantic contract before his no-movement clause kicks in July 1st, the only responsible thing would be to shop him around to as many clubs as possible, not just Montreal.
That will take time.
If anything, Bolts GM Brian Lawton should learn from two examples that making a quick deal can have catastrophic results. When Patrick Roy left Montreal in 1995, it was clear from the outset his destination was Colorado where his former agent, Pierre Lacroix, was running the operation.
Getting Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko in return for Roy - don't forget, the Habs threw in Mike Keane, as well - was one of the more one-sided trades in NHL history.
The Joe Thornton move from Boston to San Jose a decade later, meanwhile, was similar in that it was made quickly, and afterwards many GMs grumbled that they hadn't even been allowed to put a bid in for the big centre. The Bruins received Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart in return, and while the B's have since become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, it wasn't because of that deal.
The problem for Lawton and the Bolts, however, is that if they decide to move Lecavalier, the number of interested parties will be restricted by those teams with the cap flexibility to embrace his 11-year, $85 million deal. Tampa won't want to take messy contracts of veterans in return.
Clearly, Canadian hockey fans would rather see Lecavalier in Montreal than in Tampa Bay where he is one of the game's hidden treasures. He would be the greatest French-Canadian player to wear a Habs uniform since Roy.
But if the Bolts are going to move him, they've got to shop him around, if only to convince their fans that they've received the most possible for the face of the franchise.