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No-trade clause eases Vinny Lecavalier's mind

Vinny Lecavalier said he heard the rumor, first reported by the Ottawa Sun, that the Rangers tried to start trade talks for him, but he didn't think much of it.

Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton called the rumor "completely false," but Lecavalier said he hardly paid attention.

It's nice when you have a clause in your contract that says you can't be traded without your permission.

So, instead of fretting over rumors, as he did last season, when predictions about his departure to the Canadiens were a constant distraction, Lecavalier, whose no-move clause is in his 11-year, $85 million deal that began this season, can relax.

"It's a totally different situation than last year," he said. "Last year was very nerve-wracking. You're not sure about your future or if you are going somewhere. So, I hear all the stuff, but it's not something I really think about."

Lecavalier said he has not been asked to waive his no-move clause. He loves living in Tampa and wants to remain.

Would he block any proposed trade? Neither Lecavalier nor his agent, Kent Hughes, said that; smart, considering the team's unsettled ownership situation.

"The only thing I can say is given that Vinny has the no-move clause, if Tampa Bay was working on a deal, my expectation is we would hear from them first," Hughes said, adding that has not happened.

Still, expect rumors to percolate to the March 4 trade deadline. They are a byproduct of a team down in the standings and struggling financially. The logic is Tampa Bay, without Lecavalier's $10 million salary obligation, would have more flexibility to build around teenage stars Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

Also fueling rumors: Lecavalier had 13 goals entering Saturday, which put him on track for 21, his fewest since 2001-02. On the other hand, his 37 assists had him headed for 61, which would be a career high.

"For sure," he said, "if you have six or seven more goals, maybe it doesn't seem so dramatic."

Bottom line: "The rumors haven't stopped since last year," Lecavalier said. "I always hear something or somebody tells me something, but I guess it's part of it. It's not something I can control what people write or what they do. But, honestly, it's not a distraction."

Because Lecavalier, not the team, controls if he is traded.

No-trade clause eases Vinny Lecavalier's mind 01/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:17pm]
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