Buyout for Lecavalier? (update)

UPDATE: Veteran forward Vincent Lecavalier is about to become a free agent. RDS' Renaud Lavoie reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are using a compliance buyout on the 33-year-old center.


From the mathematical angle, such a move would make good sense. With only $2.4 million in salary cap space and five roster spots to fill, using a compliance buyout on Vincent Lecavalier would create a great deal ($7.73 million) of extra breathing room for the Tampa Bay Lightning. As discussed by Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, Lecavalier himself is aware the club could go in that direction.

"It's obviously something you think about," Lecavalier said. "At the same time, there's nothing I can do about it ... It's something that's really hard to think about, but you see it all the time in sports and business ... Sometimes there are changes. It's something you have to adapt to with your family and the city."

Lecavalier has been very vocal about wanting to finish his playing career with the Lightning. And, truthfully, the club would rather not release him while still carrying two-thirds of his salary (total: $30 million) on payroll for the next 14 years. Plus, when healthy, Lecavalier was pretty good -- really good, at times -- for the Lightning this season. Following a buyout, the organization would have to acquire another high-quality (read: pricey) centerman to amend for his absence.

Which is why a buyout for forward Ryan Malone, as suggested by Cristodero, might make more sense this summer. While saving $4.5 million in salary cap space for the next two years, the Lightning would only have to pay two-thirds of Malone's actual annual $2.5 million paycheque, spread over the next four years. From a financial point of view, it's a much gentler hit. A trade involving Malone (especially if he's healthy) is also a possibility.