The Philadelphia Flyers have gone 1-1-2 while Vinny Lecavalier has served as a healthy scratch. That doesn’t mean he’s likely to be welcomed back into the fold for Thursday’s game against New Jersey.
Nothing is set in stone of course, but Flyers coach Craig Berube is happy with the team’s current lines.
“[Scott] Laughton is in the middle of the ice now, he has that speed, he balanced it out,” Berube told CSN Philly.
“Him, [Wayne] Simmonds and [Brayden] Schenn have been a good line. They’ve made mistakes defensively, but for the most part, they’ve been an effective line for us.
“[Pierre-Edouard] Bellemare is in a good spot with [Chris] VandeVelde and [Zac] Rinaldo. They have energy and they all skate well.”
Lecavalier is trying to do what he can to work his way back into the Flyers’ picture. He was the first on the ice and one of the last off during Wednesday’s optional skate. When the possibility of him requesting a trade was brought up, he sidestepped the topic and instead said that he’s ready to play whenever Berube wants him to.
At the same time, this can’t be looked at as a short-term issue that will simply go away when he’s eventually reinserted into the lineup. The 34-year-old forward didn’t seem to see eye-to-eye with his bench boss last season either and that led to persistent trade rumors over the summer. When it became clear that he wasn’t going anywhere, Berube suggested that both of them need to compromise. However, Lecavalier only ended up averaging 13:27 minutes per contest this season. That’s at the heart of this as it’s not just whether or not he plays, it’s how much Berube sees fit to use him once he does.
Meanwhile, unless the Flyers can trade Lecavalier, they’re looking at the possibility of a buyout or another four years of him (including this season) at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Even if they trade him, Philadelphia might end up having to retain part of his salary to make it work as his final legacy with the team.
Or, perhaps, Lecavalier will yet find a way into Berube’s good graces. Given what’s happen so far though, that seems like an uphill battle.