Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vinny Lecavalier is a solid forward, but at the age of 33 he’s not the superstar he once was. That’s a problem for the Tampa Bay Lightning, given that he’s costing them $7,727,273 annually in cap space and will continue to do so through the 2019-20 campaign.
With that in mind, it might not be unreasonable for the Lightning to exercise one of their compliance buyouts on Lecavalier.
“It’s obviously something you think about,” Lecavalier told the Tampa Bay Times. “At the same time, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The Lightning are coming off a disastrous year where they posted a 18-26-4 and they don’t have the cap space to make significant additions without getting rid of someone.
“We understand this is a difficult contract,” Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes said. “There’s nothing we can do to change that on our end given the restrictions incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.”
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was vague when asked about the possibility, stating, “As an organization, we sit and debate everything.”
Tampa Bay might opt to make a relatively smaller move and buy out forward Ryan Malone’s contract. Malone comes with a $4.5 million cap hit and recorded just eight points in 24 games in 2013.
It’s also worth adding that even though compliance buyouts completely remove a player from the salary cap, they are not free. The Lightning would still have to pay $30 million over 14 years to not play for them. By contrast, Malone would cost them a total of $3.35 million, spread out over four years.