Do not try to get around the collective bargaining agreement. That was the message the NHL sent its general managers this week ahead of the amnesty buyout period.
But when asked if, as the New York Post suggested, the memo was prompted by a theoretical three-part transaction between the Lightning and Maple Leafs that would keep captain Vinny Lecavalier in Tampa with a reduced contract, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said no.
"No Lecavalier hypothetical has been brought to our attention," Daly wrote in an e-mail to the Tampa Bay Times.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said there was nothing to talk about regarding the scenario, which was this, the Post said:
The Lightning, which is considering using one of its two amnesty buyouts to get out from under the seven years and $45 million left on Lecavalier's contract — as well as his $7.727 million salary cap hit — would trade the center and a prospect to the rolling-in-dough Maple Leafs. Toronto then would use an amnesty buyout on Lecavalier, who would become a free agent and sign back with Tampa Bay for less money. The Lightning would keep Lecavalier, save the $30 million it would have taken to buy him out (two-thirds of what is owed over twice the years remaining on the contract) and wipe clean his salary cap costs, and the Leafs would get a prospect.
That would be a win-win, except the league apparently would view such a scenario, no matter what teams or players were involved, as a circumvention of its long-standing ban on renegotiating contracts.
The buyout period began at 11 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until 5 p.m. July 4. Players must first clear unconditional waivers.
AULIE re-SIGNS: Defenseman Keith Aulie signed a one-year, one-way contract. Financial terms were not available. Aulie would have been a restricted free agent. Aulie, 24, had two goals, seven points and 60 penalty minutes in 45 games last season with an average 12:49 of ice time. He also had a team-best 91 hits.
Bruin hospitalized: Center Patrice Bergeron has a punctured lung and was admitted to a Boston-area hospital Monday, the team said. Bergeron entered Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final with a broken rib and torn rib cartilage. During the game, he separated a shoulder. After the game, he was taken to the hospital. The team did not say when or how he punctured the lung.
Blue Jackets: Center Artem Anisimov re-signed for what Canada's TSN TV network reported is for $9.85 million over three years. He was third on the team with 11 goals despite missing 13 games to injuries.
Blues: Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk re-signed for $17 million over four years. He had five goals and 18 assists, and his average ice time of 21:18 was third on the team last season.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.