Canadiens trade for Scott Gomez should put Lecavalier trade talk to rest
Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said on Saturday that he expected all-star center Vinny Lecavalier to be with the team next season. Still, the rumors persisted that Lecavalier would be dealt to the Canadiens before midnight tonight, when his 11-year, $85 million contract kicks in and its no-move clause. That, however, was before Montreal traded for center Scott Gomez and gave the Rangers Christopher Higgins (rumored to be part of any trade with Tampa Bay), Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik in return.
Lawton didn't quite come out and say "I told you so," but he wasn't hesitant to reiterate, "We're going forward with Vinny Lecavalier, as I said."
He also said he did not have any contact with the Canadiens on Tuesday, not a phone call or a fax or a text. And that he expects Lecavalier to help carry the team back to prominence. "It puts a lot of pressure on him to produce."
Does this mean the Lecavalier will be with the team for his entire contract? Look, economic realities are what they are, despite whether Oren Koules or Len Barrie win their ownership fight, though it is Barrie who has been Lecavalier's most vocal supporter. Lecavalier is being paid a lot of money. The Lightning also is rebuilding. If Tampa Bay is terrible again next season and the team again loses significant cash, who is to say one or both sides may broach the subject of a move. It is realistic to believe Lecavalier would not stand in the way of a trade if it was presented to him up front if either side was motivated and he was part of the process of making it happen. That isn't just reading between the lines, it just makes sense, despite his preference to stay with Tampa Bay.
Throughout the rumors, the one thing Lecavalier and his agent Kent Hughes have been adamant about is that the Lightning, if it decided to move Lecavalier, call them first so they could be part of the process. After midnight, Tampa Bay must do that. It just doesn't seem logical Lecavalier would hold up a future trade if he is able to work with the Lightning to get to an agreeable place.
Am I predicting that? Not at all. I'm just saying perhaps relationships get less contentious when the sides are contractually bound to speak to each other. Anyway, enjoy the quiet. We all deserve it.