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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Any chance at Vinny?


Slow news day so I took a visit to our good ole buddy Eklund over at Hockeybuzz.com and he had this to say about Vincent Lecavalier:

Some of my sources say he's not on board with the new ownership....but others say...He's not even met them yet. His work in the community is making headlines, with $3 million more pledged by him for his foundation, making one believe he's here to stay.

However, there are those who say he is not in tune with the new ownership plans and this could lead to some problems in the near future...

So for shits and giggles let me speculate about Vinny the Great.

There isn't a GM in this league who wouldn't go after this guy. He's a 28 year old 6'4" 223 lb franchise center. This guy is just now in his prime.

He's scored 92, 108, 75, 66 & 78 points in his last 5 seasons.

Yeah this guy would solve some major problems in the center of the ice for the Jackets. Let alone what it would do to help our PP and scoring problems.

So lets "what if" for a sec.

What if he did become available?

What if the Jackets were interested?

If he were available, what would it take to land him?

The thought of him becoming available may not be quite as crazy as you'd think. The Lightning finished dead last in the NHL last season, just 4 years removed from a Stanley Cup title. They have new ownership coming in, they just fired their coach, they traded away Vinny's good buddy Brad Richards and they have a new young stud on the way in Steven Stamkos.

They are in rebuild mode.

Vinny is also signed for just 1 more season at 7.167 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

If he indeed wants out now would seem to be a great time to move him although they could also get a king's ransom at the trade deadline.

If the Lightning moved him now they could get a tremendous jump start on their rebuild which already includes the #1 pick and a sure fire lock to draft Stamkos.

So would the Jackets be interested? Of course they would. Could you imagine Lecavalier and Nash on the same line?

I'll tell ya one thing Howson would be saying if Vinny became available and that's screw Patrick Marleau.

The question is how much would they be willing to offer?

I think the offer would be tempered quite a bit because they'd only be guaranteed one year but chances to grab this kind of player in his prime only come around once in a great while -- to me its worth rolling the dice and making a substantial offer.

The Jackets and Lightning would make terrific trading partners IMO. Both franchises are headed in opposite directions and Tampa would want the kind of assets the Jackets would be willing to move which are draft picks and low cost, young NHL players.

Considering that the Jackets were rumored to be ready to part with Fritsche, Brule & Tollefsen for Brad Richards its going to take substantially more to land a big fish like Lecavalier, even with only 1 more year left on his deal.

I'd start with the following:

6th, 19th, Nikolai Zherdev, Gilbert Brule & Dan Fritsche

I'd even be willing to move one of Brassard or Voracek but would then would remove the 19th or Zherdev. Hell just about anything would be in play besides Nash or Leclaire.

I know its a lot to chance on player you may only have for a year but this is a top 5 player in the game we are talking here. I would immediately start contract negotiations to get him locked down to an extended contract. If for some reason terms could not be agreed to then the possibility exists that the Jackets could move him at the deadline themselves.

Okay - here's a quick dream lineup taking some liberties with UFAs/trades:

Nash (6.5) Lecavalier (7.167) Modin (3.5)
Brunette (3) Brassard (875k) Ryder (3)
Chimera (1.875) Malhotra (1.5) Murray (600k)
Boll (570k) Novotny (800k) Dorsett (570k)
Depth: Pineault/Picard/Sestito/Legein

Kubina (5) Hejda (2)
Klesla (1.65) Liles (5)
Tollefsen (750k) Rome (750k)
Depth: Russell/Methot/Wilson/Sigalet

Leclaire (4)
Norrena (900k)
Depth: Mason/LaCosta

Total: 50.007

*6th, Zherdev, Voracek, Brule & Fritsche moved for Lecavalier
*19th traded for Kubina
* Liles, Ryder & Brunette signed as UFAs

I hate to move Voracek but to get a player like that we'd have to give up one of Brassard or Voracek. I chose Voracek because we need a young center and we need to win now -- Brassard gives us the best chance at both of those.

Yes its fantasy and its highly unlikely the Lightning would part with their franchise player but Howson better be at the front of the line asking just in case he becomes available....and hell, its fun to speculate!

Discuss - what would you be willing to give up for Vinny if anything? I look at this and think maybe its to much to give up for what could be only 1 year of service but on the flip side a player like that would do wonders for our team and would re-energize the franchise.

-LTL

4 comments:

Douglas said...

I have to say that I have only seen Lecavelier (sp?) live on the ice one time... but that one time really disappointed me and has colored my opinion. When the Lightning came to play in Nationwide Arena this past season, I bought tickets, excited to see Lecavelier and Marty St. Louis. They were so unspectacular that I hardly even noticed when they were on the ice.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by guys with crazy moves like Nash and Z, but I was unimpressed by what I saw in person.

That said... I love ya, Manny, but just about *anybody* in their prime is going to be better than who we've got at center now. (I'm not officially putting my money on Brassard until he produces at the **NHL** level.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think either Vinny or MSL are thrilled with the downfall of their franchise. I can't imagine either of them are really interested in being part of a 'rebuilding' at this point in their careers. Sure, they have both already won, but I am sure they would like another crack at it before they retire. MSL is 1/2 the player he used to be, and I can't imagine there is much to inspire either of them these days. Playing with Nash might be a good spark for the star center though eh?

That being said, I would give a lot to obtain Vinny. He still has loads of game and he and Nash would be nearly unstoppable. I am not big on offering up names, but if he became available lay it all out there Scott.

Thing is, he is about the only think that sells tickets in Tampa anymore. If he moves out of Tampa, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that he went to Mtl. though.

Jo said...

Sole thought is that in your fantasy trades, Tampa Bay might find some value in Lindstrom.

Just a thought. :)

dan said...

i'd open up the vault and the checkbook for vinny. agree with the untouchables - nash and leclaire - but everyone and everything else would be fair game IMO.

get him signed to a nice long-term deal.

or maybe we play it cool and try to sign him next year....