NHL not looking into Vincent Lecavalier's 11-year contract with Tampa Bay

vinnylecavalier1.jpgWhile many players with egregiously long contracts get nervous about whether or not the NHL will come calling to see if their contract will get looked at a little closer, Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t have to worry about anything. Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times gets the information that Lecavalier’s 11-year $85 million deal with the Lightning is A-OK according to the NHL.

Some have wondered if Vinny Lecavalier’s 11-year, $85 million contract extension should be scrutinized as well. But NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an e-mail Tuesday that the league has “no issue with (Lecavalier’s) contract.”

Lecavalier’s contract with Tampa Bay is one that raised more than a few eyebrows with people because it pays him $10 million a year in the first seven years of the eleven-year deal; a stunning amount to say the least and one that puts him in rare company making eight-figures a year (Roberto Luongo being the only other one). So what makes Lecavalier’s different from the others? Cristodero elaborates.

Lecavalier’s deal also is front-loaded, but the reduction in salary is not nearly as dramatic and for not nearly as long. Lecavalier, whose cap hit is $7.727 million, makes $10 million the first seven years, $8.5 million in the eighth, $4 million in the ninth, $1.5 million in the 10th and $1 million in the 11th. If he plays out the contract, he will be 39 years old when the 2019-2020 regular-season ends. Kovalchuk would be 44 if he played to the end of his deal. Not that it can’t happen, but the arbitrator noted that only six of 3,400 players during the past 20 years have played to 42.

In other words, Lecavalier’s deal, while reducing the cap hit, does not go to extremes. Lecavalier also has played one year under the deal, which means it would be more difficult for the league to revisit the circumstances. That is the problem the NHL may run into with Hossa’s 12-year, $62.8 million deal that kicked in last season, pays $7.9 million annually the first seven years, has a cap hit of $5.23 million and pays $3.5 million total the last four years.

Having already played a year with the contract is very likely to prove to be a saving grace for both Lecavalier and Hossa, and it helps that Lecavalier’s deal isn’t a complete mockery of the system. The same can’t quite be said of Hossa’s contract, but at least Vinny has Big Brother off of his back now. That said, the kind of money drop-off you see in Lecavalier’s contract from its highest peak to its lowest valley is pretty remarkable. At the contract’s peak he makes $10 million in a season, in the final year he makes just $1 million. Seeing your salary fall by $9 million over the course of four years is pretty harsh but apparently perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the league. I’m sure Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman is paying very close attention to this.

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    Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

    Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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    Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

    Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

    Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

    The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

    “I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

    He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

    WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

    Ryan White, Matt Martin
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    You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

    Here are the handy links for the two contests.

    First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


    After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


    Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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    The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

    Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

    “Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

    Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

    Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

    Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

    Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

    Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

    Ryan Johansen
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    One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

    You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

    — Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

    — GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

    — Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

    So there’s that. What’s next?

    At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

    Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

    So, consider the similarities now:

    — Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

    — Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

    — Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

    — Both are Overhardt guys.

    — The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

    — Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

    For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

    And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

    And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.