Close to one year ago, Vincent Lecavalier signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. During the lockout-shortened season, the Flyers were lacking in strength down the middle of the ice. Brayden Schenn had shown flashes of brilliance, but he would disappear for stretches of time. Lecavalier was supposed to bring stability to the center position.
One year later, the Lecavalier experiment is off to a horrible start.
He started the 2013-14 season on a roll, scoring five goals and seven points through the first eight games of the season…then his production declined.
He sustained a back injury, was bounced around the lineup and I do not believe he every found his groove once he returned to the lineup. There would be some games he would resemble his old self. He would shield the puck with his body and set up his teammates with gorgeous passing. But those stretches were far too spaced out. His possession numbers were atrocious, and he was invisible during the first round against the New York Rangers.
A popular topic of discussion among fans is whether or not Lecavalier will be traded this offseason. His contract includes a no movement clause, which brings down the numbers of suitors for him, but the Nashville Predators could be one of the few teams who could be interested in him.
Peter Laviolette, the new head coach of the Predators, was instrumental in bringing Lecavalier to Philadelphia. Laviolette’s up-tempo style of hockey suited Lecavalier’s game better than Craig Berube’s tight-checking strategy.
Elliotte Friedman posted an interesting thought in his 30 Thoughts post Tuesday afternoon:
Pure speculation on my part, absolute guesswork: Paul Holmgren said this week one of the reasons Vincent Lecavalier struggled is because Peter Laviolette, who recruited him, left, and Lecavalier wasn’t a fit in Craig Berube’s system. Is there a trade fit now that Laviolette is in Nashville? Flyers would probably have to eat a good chunk of his salary, but Holmgren and Poile have a history of getting deals done.
Even though Lecavalier’s deal includes a NMC, he may be willing to waive it for the chance to play top minutes and have an actual position on a team coached by Laviolette. The Flyers will probably have to retain part of Lecavalier’s salary if they ship him off but shedding even half of that salary will benefit the team.
What the Flyers do have going for them is a great relationship with the Predators. Since Paul Holmgren took over as general manager, he and David Poile, general manager of the Predators have made several deals together. The latest swap between the teams occured on June 19, 2010 when Holmgren traded Ryan Parent for the rights to Dan Hamhuis and a conditional pick.
Other than smaller deals, the most notable acquisition between both franchises happened when Holmgren traded Peter Forsberg to the Predators in a deal that would lead to Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen becoming Philadelphia Flyers.
Despite a subpar year, dealing with injuries and never having a true place on the roster, Lecavalier still managed to score 20 goals. His leadership, veteran presence and professionalism are intangibles that could be the right fit on a team like Nashville that is looking to forget the 2013-14 season.