Philadelphia Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier has had his share of struggles lately. With just two goals in his last 20 games it is safe to say that he is slumping. Lecavalier has scored at least 20 goals in every season of his career except his rookie season and last years lockout shortened campaign. Right now Lecavalier is on pace for 19 goals in 70 games. Unless he comes on strong in the final months of the season, Lecavalier is doomed for a down season.
Lecvalier’s struggles this year are reminiscent of those that Daniel Briere experienced in his final seasons as a Flyer. There are a lot of similarities between the two players:
-Both players are natural centers on a team replete with young talent at the position.
-Both players are locker room leaders and respected veterans.
-Both players are having trouble finding a consistent place on the depth chart.
It is hard not to love Danny Briere. He was always a hard working player and a great guy off the ice. However, as his time in Philly dragged on, it became clear that Briere was not a part of the Flyers future. As hard as it was to see him go this summer, it looked like a good move for the team on the ice. With Briere gone, the Flyers looked set at center for the foreseeable future with Giroux, Brayden Schenn, and Couturier.
Then the Flyers signed Lecavalier and eyebrows were raised. As the announcement was made, most Flyers fans were excited because of the quality of player that Lecavalier has been throughout his career. Conveniently, we put all of our worries about his position aside and assumed that Holmgren and his staff knew what they were doing.
Six months later, it is hard to be optimistic about Lecavalier’s future in Philadelphia. It looks more and more like the Flyers bought out one square peg (Briere) and went out and signed another (Lecavalier). Unfortunately, they have a round hole that neither player can fill. The Flyers have tried both Lecavalier and B. Schenn at wing and have found that they are both more involved when playing center. When placed on the wing, Lecavalier looks awkward and out of place.
I hope that the Flyers can find a place for Lecavalier in the lineup. I hope he has a great future with the team. Unfortunately, Lecavalier has had some issues with injury that should improve with the upcoming Olympic break. However, when looking at the Flyers of the future, it is getting harder and harder to see Lecavalier having a role.