Habs should pick up Vincent Lecavalier….at the right price

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

I count on my friend Brendan – real person! – at times like this. He called me to tell me about Tampa Bay buying out Vincent Lecavalier – and just as well he did since I still hadn’t got around to turning on the radio, still stumbling around the kitchen trying to pull together a cup of java.

So the Lightning will be paying some $30 million to buy-out their captain, paying him that dough over 14 years, ending 2027. Tampa will take a $2.2 million cap hit each year.

So obviously all we care about here is its impact on Les Canadiens. So should Habs GM Marc Bergevin reach out to Our Cousin Vinnie and make him an offer he can’t refuse?

Short answer? Yes do it if you can get him at the right price and the right price is a low price and a small number of years. Like $6 million over two years.

Now the reality is that Lecavalier probably won’t take that kind of deal so he’s unlikely to play in Montreal. But he might…..if he feels like returning to finish his career in his hometown. Why should he care about the money? He’s going to get $30 million for the buyout and he’s already made tens of millions from Tampa. So he could play here for free.

Yes it’s not that likely. But he would help the team. Look what happened with Jaromir Jagr in Boston. Montreal turned up its nose at Jags, not even bothering to kick the tires on this one and then the Czech vet goes and becomes a key supporting player for the Bruins in their inspirational Cup run. Sure he didn’t score a goal but man did he work hard in the corners and baby did he deliver a couple of downright Shakespearian passes to set-up Bergeron goals.

And one of the big things the Habs are missing is the presence of grizzled veterans who can take the younger players under their wing. Lecavalier could provide that presence. Also we do need a big centre. Sure he’s not the solution for the future but he could be part of the solution for next year.

Cos I hate to break the news to you but the Canadiens do not have anything resembling a first or second-line centre in their ranks. Plekanec and Desharnais? Yeah that worked out well in the playoffs. Lars Eller? Still not ready for prime time in my view. And Bergevin has made it pretty clear he won’t be moving budding superstar Alex Galchenyuk to centre next season. So Vinnie would come in mighty handy.

Elliotte Friedman has a great tweet Thursday morning – noting that Vinnie has 135 points in his last 168 games, for a per-game point average of 0.8. Who has a 0.8 point-per-game average on the current Habs roster? Just asking.

The other thing this underlines is the woeful lack of francophone players on the Canadiens. For 20 years, Habs management have treated their Quebecois fans with contempt, making no effort to bring in hometown players. So yeah Lecavalier is not the long-term solution but the cries for his signing wouldn’t be nearly as strong if the Canadiens already had a bunch of high-profile franco players on the bench. When was the last time the Habs had a line-up that was nearly half franco? That would be 1992-93 and we all know what happened that year. You can’t underestimate the added value of players playing in front of their hometown crowd.


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