Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning keeps buyout option open for Lecavalier, Malone

If Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is contemplating buying out captain Vinny Lecavalier's contract, he isn't saying.

"I have nothing to say about it right now," Yzerman said.

But Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes acknowledged, "We understand it's something they might be contemplating. It would be natural to do so."

The compliance buyout period, when teams can get out of burdensome contracts without paying salary cap consequences, is from 11 tonight to 5 p.m. July 4. Its purpose: to help teams manage next season's $64.3 million salary cap, down from last season's $70.2 million.

Lecavalier, with seven years, $45 million left on his contract and a $7.727 million cap hit, is believed a possible target. Oft-injured left wing Ryan Malone, with two years, $5 million left and a $4.5 million cap hit, might be as well.

Malone and Lecavalier said Tuesday they had not heard from the team.

"It occupies zero of my thoughts," Malone said. "If they want to buy me out, there's nothing I can do. I would go try to prove them wrong."

Buyouts cost two-thirds of a player's remaining salary paid over double the remaining years. Buying out Lecavalier would cost $30 million over 14 years, Malone $3.35 million over four years.

That's a lot of money for owner Jeff Vinik to swallow. He also must accept the Lightning perhaps not being immediately better for it as a Lecavalier buyout, especially, would create a hole at center that might or might not be filled over the summer.

Still, with more than $60 million in 2013-14 salary cap commitments and up to five roster spots to fill, Tampa Bay could use the cap space and buying out Lecavalier would save $54 million of it over seven years.

It also would shield the team from salary cap penalties if Lecavalier retires before the end of his contract. The new salary cap recapture rule is the league's attempt to stop long-term, front-loaded contracts, such as Lecavalier's 11-year, $85 million deal, which manipulate cap hits.

"We understand this is a difficult contract," Hughes said. "We understand (a buyout) is within the club's rights to do."

coaching move: As expected, AHL Syracuse assistant coach, and former Lightning assistant, Marty Raymond was named coach of Drummondville of the junior Quebec league.

Around the league

Torts joins canucks: The Canucks introduced John Tortorella as their coach, with the former Lightning coach saying, "I couldn't be more excited." Tortorella, fired by the Rangers, said he has longed to coach a team in Canada. Often abrasive, he said he will try hard to work with the media because that is important with Vancouver, but he will not back down from player accountability. Tortorella, 55, said all players, including scoring stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin, will face more demands — including killing penalties and blocking shots. "We have a really good leadership group … but we have not won the Stanley Cup," he said. "There's going to be more asked of (the players), and that starts from the twins right on down."

Bruins: Players said Monday's loss to the Blackhawks, when two late goals ousted Boston from the Stanley Cup final, will sting for some time. "I've never felt anything like this. I've never cried for as long as I've known until (Monday)," center Tyler Seguin said. Maybe the Bruins can learn from adversity? "It's not even a point to say that it's going to make us stronger in the future," center David Krejci said. "It's going to hurt for a while." Boston, lacking a first-round draft pick (traded for Jaromir Jagr), has many key players returning, but several can become free agents — goalie Tuukka Rask, who had a strong postseason, right wing Nathan Horton and defenseman Andrew Ference.

Flyers: The team is buying out goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's contract, saving nearly $6 million under the cap for each of the next seven years.

Hurricanes: The team agreed to terms on a one-year deal with forward Brett Sutter, 26.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

 
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