Given that Philadelphia won’t make the playoffs, people have been getting a head start on their Flyers postmortems. A popular subject of debate is the handling of Vincent Lecavalier by Flyers head coach Craig Berube.
Lecavalier has been averaging just 12:50 minutes per game this season and Berube hasn’t been shy about keeping the 34-year-old forward out of the lineup entirely. Berube has defended his actions by pointing to Lecavalier’s lack of production as he has just 18 points in 52 contests. That can lead to a circular debate though where people either take the side that his production is down due to the lack of playing time or vice versa.
Lecavalier has made it clear where he stands in that discussion.
“Maybe it’s just a better opportunity I need,” Lecavalier told the Canadian Press. “It happens to a lot of guys. Sometimes you just have to get out of it, try to get out of it and work hard through it and maybe another opportunity will happen.”
He also rejected the argument that he’s starting to show his age.
“I feel like I’ve trained my whole career to extend those years and feel good when I’m 35, 36, 37 years old,” he said. “I feel like it’s not a matter of not having legs or anything like that. I was never a really fast guy. I’ve always been the same speed. I feel good.”
In addition to the lack of playing time, Lecavalier has also primarily been asked to play on the right wing rather than his preferred position of center.
“In the middle of the ice in our system, it’s a lot of work,” Berube explained. “You have to skate and get back and play both ends of the ice.”
Assuming Berube stays on for the 2015-16 campaign, Lecavalier’s best bet of getting a fresh start would be via a trade. That would be difficult for the Flyers to pull off given his $4.5 million annual cap hit through the 2017-18 campaign, but it has been suggested that he might be willing to entice a potential trading partner by offering to retire early, thus mitigating the long-term risk.