Earlier today, Brough wrote about the pressure Nashville GM David Poile’s under to land a top center.
Today, Poile reportedly came close to pulling it off — in the form of Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier.
On Monday, the Flyers nearly had a deal with Nashville that would have seen the Predators take Lecavalier’s $4.5 million salary off the Flyers’ hands.
What — if anything — the Flyers would have got in returns remains muddled, but in the end the deal fell apart.
According to a league source, the Preds were willing to take the full cap hit for two of Lecavalier’s remaining four years but not the entire contract.
Another league source said Flyers general manager Ron Hextall spent most of Monday trying to find a deal for Lecavalier.
Lecavalier, 34, has been on the block for a while — TSN reported before to the draft that Philly granted permission for his agent, Kent Hughes, to find a trade partner prior to July 1. That date’s a key one as it’s when the Flyers owe Lecavalier a $2 million bonus, one they’d obviously prefer not to pay if they plan to part ways with the ex-Lightning captain this summer.
And parting ways seems like it’s going to happen.
Things have been slowly building up to this point — Lecavalier, signed under the pretense he’d be a good fit in Peter Laviolette’s offensively-inclined system, struggled under Craig Berube and was demoted to the fourth line late in the season, which prompted this:
Following the Flyers’ opening-round loss to the Rangers, Lecavalier admitted he had a tough first season in Philadelphia and the Flyers’ brass acknowledged they expected more from him next year.
Now, that script seems to be flipped. With Lecavalier set to earn $6 million in salary next season (and another $2M via bonus, as mentioned above), it sounds as though the organization simply wants to get out from under a deal that carries a $4.5 million annual cap hit until 2018.
It’s those numbers, though, that seem to have torpedoed a deal with the Preds. Though they’re borderline desperate to add an offensively-minded center — especially after Jason Spezza rebuffed their advances over the weekend — the Preds clearly had a tough time stomaching all of Lecavalier’s cap hit and salary…and it’s hard to blame them, especially following a year in which Vinny had just 37 points in 69 games with a minus-16 rating.