Tag: Vincent Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier
Associated Press

PHT Morning Skate: Clean slate for Lecavalier?


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

With a new head coach in Philadelphia, Vincent Lecavalier believes he might make the best out of a clean slate with the Flyers. (CSNPhilly.com)

Much like Mike Richards, Ryan O'Reilly‘s legal situation was essentially placed on hold, as his next court date looks to be on Oct. 1. For now? (Buffalo News)

Pondering the economic impact of Connor McDavid. (Sportsnet)

Brendan Shanahan shared some interesting thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rebuild via Twitter. (#AskShanny)

Speaking of the Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin will be added to Legends Row.

The Ottawa Senators are getting the ball rolling with Daniel Alfredsson regarding a potential front office role. (Ottawa Citizen)

Defensemen who excel at preventing dangerous scoring chances. Apparently they don’t all have to be Zdeno Chara-good to be effective. (TSN)

An early look at Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby lining up together.

*Gasp* did Kessel not lose weight after all? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Philadelphia Flyers ’15-16 Outlook

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers have built a great foundation, but it remains to be seen if their supporting cast is ready to help propel them into the playoffs.

Although it hasn’t always been the case, at this point it seems reasonable to bet on Steve Mason providing the Flyers with a strong presence between the pipes. At the same time, the chemistry that Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have developed should result in the Flyers once again having one of the most effective top lines in the league. Even defensively, which tends to be seen as their weakest point, they have a solid anchor in Mark Streit.

A solid starting goaltender, great top line, and an effective offensive defenseman are a good start, but that in and of itself isn’t enough to make a serious contender, as the Flyers exemplified last season.

For example, a championship team typically has quite a bit of offensively depth, which Philadelphia didn’t possess in 2014-15. That problem could be largely addressed though if 24-year-old Brayden Schenn and 22-year-old Sean Couturier are able to make bigger contributions this season. There’s also a chance that newcomer Sam Gagner will prove to be an effective complimentary player or that Vincent Lecavalier or R.J. Umberger will bounce back.

Their defense is an even bigger question mark though. While it’s true that Philadelphia has a very promising group of defensive prospects, it’s entirely possible that none of them will be ready to make major contributions this season. That means that the Flyers might be relying in part on Michael Del Zotto, who has been inconsistent over the course of his career, to have a good season or that 32-year-old Yevgeni Medvedev will make a smooth transition from the KHL and at the very least prove to be a helpful stopgap measure.

There are certainly scenarios that can be painted in which this team bounces back and perhaps even enjoys a lengthy playoff run. However, with so many significant X-factors in play, Philadelphia will be interesting, but not necessarily successful in the short-term.

Poll: Are the Flyers better off losing (a lot)?

Dave Hakstol

When you ponder the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster, it doesn’t immediately scream “hopeless.”

That’s especially true if you scroll down starting with the forwards; the one-two punch of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek is complemented by the unusual power play + power forward work of Wayne Simmonds as well some other nice pieces. Combine that group with redemptive goalie Steve Mason and one can understand the optimism.

The glass gets closer to half-empty as you scan that blueline.

Mark Streit is probably the brightest light in that group, and he’s 37. Things get pretty dicey from there, and GM Ron Hextall’s hands were tied with a clogged cap situation.

Could this roster churn out a wild card berth? One would think it’s a possibility, so we’ll start with that poll:

Feel free to disagree in the comments, yet as plausible as a postseason bid might be, it’s tough to imagine the Flyers contending with that bumbling blueline.

Flyers owner Ed Snider won’t like this, but it could be best to swallow a bitter pill of defeat in 2015-16 and gear up for better days.

You never want to throw away peak years for the likes of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. That said, they’re young enough (Giroux is 27 and Voracek is 26) that they could still be elite producers when the smoke may start to clear in a year or two.

Between Luke Schenn and Sam Gagner alone, the Flyers will see $6.8 million in cap space dissolve in the summer of 2016 alone. They’ll also be free of R.J. Umberger’s $4.6 million mark after 2016-17.

(Vincent Lecavalier’s $4.5 million cap hit taunts them through 2017-18, though. Hey, you can’t win them all.)

Beyond gaining financial breathing room, Hextall collected nine draft picks in 2015, 2016 and 2017, so the farm system could be impressive down the road. Naturally, that would only be more apparent if the Flyers end up with a premium pick in 2016.

So, long story short: should the Flyers go into tank mode next season?

It’s Philadelphia Flyers Day at PHT

Steve Mason

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Philadelphia Flyers.

In 2013-14, the Philadelphia Flyers endured a terrible 1-7-0 start, but they improved as the campaign went on and still managed to make the playoffs. Last season they once again struggled out of the gate (0-2-2), but this time no comeback of significance was forthcoming.

There were silver linings to be sure. Steve Mason showed that his solid 2013-14 campaign wasn’t a fluke as he posted a 2.25 GAA and .928 save percentage in 51 games. After years of goaltending headaches, the fact that the 27-year-old netminder is secured for another two seasons with a reasonable $4.1 million annual cap hit is a big plus for Philadelphia. However, the Flyers largely squandered his strong play in 2014-15 as he had the NHL’s best GAA in losing efforts (2.67) among goaltenders that were charged with at least 10 defeats.

Philadelphia was credited with just 215 goals for, which left them in 22nd place. That’s despite the fact that Jakub Voracek stepped up in 2014-15 with 22 goals and a career-high 81 points in 82 contests.

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds were the only other Philadelphia forwards that recorded at least 50 points as Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn weren’t able to make a significant leap offensively, Vincent Lecavalier was used sparingly under coach Craig Berube, and R.J. Umberger struggled in his first season following the Scott Hartnell trade.

That all culminated in Philadelphia ending the season with a 33-31-18 record.

Off-season recap

After missing the playoffs, Flyers GM Ron Hextall fired Berube and replaced him with Dave Hakstol, who previously served as North Dakota’s bench boss. Philadelphia stayed busy in the lead up to the UFA period by inking veteran KHL defenseman Evgeni Medvedev, shipping forward Zac Rinaldo to Boston for a 2017 third-round pick, and trading Nicklas Grossmann along with Chris Pronger’s contract to Arizona in exchange for Sam Gagner.

When it came to the draft, Philadelphia realized it needed a forward, but with Ivan Provorov available for the seventh pick, Hextall couldn’t pass on the opportunity to grab the highly regarded defenseman.

The Flyers were relatively quiet during the free agent period, likely due in large part to their cap situation, but they did ink 27-year-old goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $3.25 million deal. A veteran of 168 games, he’ll enter the season as Mason’s understudy.

Philadelphia might not be done yet though as they do have eight defensemen signed to one-way contracts, so the squad might part ways with one via the trade market. There’s also always the possibility that the Flyers will find a suitor for Lecavalier, although the fact that he has three seasons left on his contract with a $4.5 million annual cap hit makes moving him a challenge.

Hextall: It’s status quo between Flyers, Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier

We’ve seen quite a few “impossible-to-move” contracts actually get traded lately (see: Chris Pronger’s dead money), but it sounds like Vincent Lecavalier and the Philadelphia Flyers are stuck together. For now.

GM Ron Hextall described the situation as “status quo” on Friday, as CSNPhilly.com notes.

“We’re status quo,” Hextall said. “We’re planning on going into the season with Vinny and see what happens. Do I get a call with interest? I don’t know. At this point, we’re status quo.”

Tough sell

Simply put, it’s not easy to market a 35-year-old who was an occasional healthy scratch on a non-playoff team and also happens to carry a $4.5 million cap hit through 2017-18.

Hextall was describing the salary cap situation as a whole when he called it “not ideal” yet manageable, but perhaps those descriptions work best for Lecavalier’s situation.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

One thing to note is that Philly has already stomached some of the biggest financial burdens of his deal, so his contract might be easier to move later on.

After receiving $6 million in salary during 2013-14 and 2014-15 (not to mention hefty signing bonuses), Lecavalier’s receiving $4.5 million in salary in 2015-16 and already received his $2 million bonus in July, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Things get more affordable toward the end of the deal: he receives $3 million in salary in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and his final bonus is a little easier to stomach: $500K in July 2016. Teams hoping to save some cash while getting to the salary cap floor in 2016-17 may just find Lecavalier more interesting right after he gets that half-million bonus next summer.

Waiting another full year to get rid of Lecavalier’s contract obviously isn’t the most desirable thought, but it might be the most realistic scenario.

You can bet that Hextall will take other general managers’ calls about the floundering veteran whenever they come, though.

Related: Flyers are still stuck in salary cap jail