Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Tampa Bay Lightning says no player, including Vinny Lecavalier, is off limits for trade talks

GM Brian Lawton says that though Vinny Lecavalier is not being shopped, the team’s goals come before any individual.

Getty Images

GM Brian Lawton says that though Vinny Lecavalier is not being shopped, the team’s goals come before any individual.

LOS ANGELES — Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier will not be untouchable as the March 4 trade deadline approaches.

But don't read too much into that, general manager Brian Lawton said. On a team fighting to stay out of the league cellar, "There are no players who are untouchable."

"And that has nothing to do with Vinny Lecavalier," Lawton said before Monday night's game with the Kings at the Staples Center. "That has to do with the status of any team I'm managing. It has to do with our macro goal of being committed to winning, being committed to giving our fans a winner. No player supersedes the goals of any team I'm working on."

Still, simply acknowledging that Lecavalier, 28, the face of the franchise and recently voted in a Times poll the Tampa Bay area's most popular athlete, is not off limits is a show stopper.

It makes it reasonable to assume teams are inquiring — Montreal, anyone? — the Lightning is at least listening and internal discussions are taking place as to whether the team would be better off long-term with the superstar center or the windfall of assets he would bring in a deal.

At the very least it will reinforce a firestorm of speculation around the league that will intensify as the deadline approaches.

"I'm just glad we're in California and not Canada," Lecavalier joked.

"I haven't even looked at the Internet."

Lawton was adamant, though, Lecavalier is not being shopped.

"To suggest we're engaging in conversations to trade him or we're shopping him to all teams in the National Hockey League is completely inaccurate," he said. "It's false, egregious and it's abusive toward the player.

"I can tell you if a player of that stature were ever going to be traded, I would go meet with him, face to face, and discuss the situation," Lawton added. "That has never happened."

Lecavalier, whose "no-move" clause, which is part of his 11-year, $85-million contract extension, doesn't kick in until July 1, confirmed he has not been approached.

It is a busy time for Lightning officials, who last week met with league brass and Tom Wilson, CEO of former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment, to restructure the $70-million finance agreement with Palace Sports on the $200-million sale of the team.

Lawton admitted the drooping economy has had an adverse effect on the team's finances.

"No different than most of the business around the world right now," he said. "We are not recession proof. Are we going out of business? Can we meet our payroll? Has coach (Rick) Tocchet been paid? All these ludicrous things I've heard are totally false.

"That is the root of where this discussion is coming from," Lawton added. "People are saying, 'Well, they're going out of business. They're going to have to trade their expensive players, and they're starting with their most expensive player.' "

Lawton said his starting point in evaluating the roster is the same used by every team.

"The clarity for me is unless a team is performing at a championship level, there are no players who are untouchable," he said. "We're looking at every player on our team, all the time until we win a Stanley Cup."

Lecavalier, the Rocket Richard Trophy winner in 2007 for his league-high 52 goals, has struggled this season. He entered Monday tied for the team lead with 16 goals, but his 36 points put him well behind his pace the past two seasons in which he had 108 and 92, respectively.

What has been consistent are trade rumors, especially to his hometown Canadiens, which have followed him almost his entire career.

"I guess you get used to it," Lecavalier said. "You've got to insulate yourself from it, for sure."

Good luck.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

The Tampa Bay Lightning says no player, including Vinny Lecavalier, is off limits for trade talks 01/12/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 7:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  2. Baseball team's eclipse watch during game draws fans from far away


    KEIZER, Ore. — They came from Hawaii, Rhode Island and Alaska, and as far as the Dominican Republic and Australia.

    Players for the minor-league baseball Salem-Keizer Volcanoes wear special eclipse jerseys Monday.
  3. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  4. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation


    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  5. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot


    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …