Getting Vinny 20; keeping Vinny 4
If you liked Wednesday's acquisition from the Flyers of the negotiating rights to Vinny Prospal, you're not alone. Prospal's agent Ritch Winter, who does not usually tip his hand, seemed confident the Lightning could get Prospal signed in the 12 days before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
"All roads lead to Tampa Bay," he said.
And superstar Vinny Lecavalier was thrilled his good friend and linemate with whom he has had so much success has a chance to be back on the MVP line with him and Marty St. Louis. And that is probably most important.
The Lightning has said since February it wants to sign Lecavalier to an extension. That rhetoric was turned up earlier this month when Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, said he believes the organization is shooting to keep Lecavalier on the team for his entire career. Not that Prospal, 33, will be around that long, but getting Prospal sends a definite message to Lecavalier that the organization cares what he thinks.
Consider the story GM Jay Feaster told Wednesday. He said he believed part of the impetus for the deal was a conversation Lecavalier had last season with Oren Koules in which Lecavalier expressed his desire to keep playing with Prospal. Lecavalier said he doesn't recall such a conversation but also said he never has been shy about saying how much he likes playing with Prospal. And it was Koules' OK Hockey, Ffeaster said, who pushed for the trade that acquired Prospal, who likely will play in his third stint with the team.
I'm not saying OK Hockey, which on Wednesday was approved as owner by the board of governors, would make any trade haphazardly. Prospal has been a valuable member of the Lightning and has had his greatest success with the team. All I'm saying is it doesn't hurt if in the process you let your franchise player (a player you want to sign to a long-term deal) know that the organization cares what he thinks.