Vincent Lecavalier may be the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, he was set to come with a $7.27 million salary cap hit through the 2019-20 season. For a team that’s already close to the 2013-14 salary cap, the Bolts had to do something.
That something, apparently, is to buy out Lecavalier’s contract.
RDS’ Renaud Lavoie was the first to report Thursday morning that the Lightning will buy out their captain’s contract. Not long after, the team confirmed the news with a press release.
“Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in the release. “The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward.
“After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us.”
Lecavalier has seven years left on his current deal, which means, with the NHL buyout rules, Tampa Bay will have to pay him two-thirds of the remaining money over the next 14 years. According to CapGeek, the foremost expert on anything related to NHL salaries, the buyout will cost $30 million over that time. That comes with a $2.14 million salary cap hit over that period as well.
Lecavalier hasn’t exactly lived up to that contract’s lofty expectations as of late. He scored 10 goals to go along with 22 assists in 39 games this season after registering 22-27-49 totals in 64 games the season before.