Lightning, Habs have Lecavalier
trade on table By David Pagnotta
ON] -- As the reports continue to mount over the possible trade of
Vincent Lecavalier, it's become almost certain that the Tampa Bay
Lightning and Montreal Canadiens have a deal on the table.
found out over the weekend that the two teams were talking, but
frankly, I didn't think much of it. Why? Because I was told by someone
in Tampa that Vinny wasn't going to be moved.
That appears to have changed.
TSN reported earlier today that the Habs and Lightning are indeed
talking, and that offers have been pitched.
According to TSN, there is a huge debate within the Lightning
organization regarding the possibility of dealing their captain. Some
people want to keep him, others -- like GM Brian Lawton -- want to
deal him and rebuild.
I've spoken to sources in both Montreal and Tampa late this afternoon
and both have confirmed that a offer is on the table, and has the Habs
dealing center Tomas Plekanec, winger Chris Higgins, defensive
prospect P.K. Subban and draft picks.
TSN is reporting something similar, but has defenseman Josh Gorges
also in the mix.
Ultimately, TSN claims, it's going to be Lecavalier's decision.
I spoke with Vinny a number of times over the years, in Tampa and on
the road. Not once did he ever hint that he didn't like playing for
the Lightning or in that market. In fact, he loves it. He has some
privacy (A LOT more than he'd get in Montreal), the weather is
beautiful and he signed a big fat 11-year contract thinking that he'd
spend the rest of his career there.
But, that appears to have changed, too.
TSN's Bob McKenzie explained that Lecavalier hasn't enjoyed anything
about this season. The Lightning has been a mess all year, with new
ownership, new players not working out and a new coach that got the
boot soon after the season started.
Lecavalier wants to be a member of the Canadiens, it looks like he
There may be other options, though, as RDS is reporting that four
other teams have also had discussions with the Lightning about
Lecavalier, including another Canadian franchise.
For now, however, it looks like the Habs might have the inside track,
but Montreal GM Bob Gainey isn't talking (to us media folk).
"Well, we don't really talk about trade rumors," Gainey said earlier
"There's a price for everything. If we had a chance at an impact
player, then we would evaluate the cost."
And that evaluation looks to have
concluded with the Habs deciding that they want him and are willing to
give up one heck of a package in return.
The Lightning, meanwhile, refuse to
comment on any rumors or potential trades.
Attempts to reach Lawton were
unsuccessful, while Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, is currently in
Los Angeles to meet with management and wasn't available to talk.
Hughes said over the weekend that he was assured by owner
Oren Koules that the team was not going to trade him. I bet he didn't
expect things to turn around so quickly in a 48-hour period.
Speaking to a Lightning official around
7:20pm ET, Lecavalier will be playing tonight against the Kings. I
think we'd all be curious to see how he performs. Will this be his
last game as a Bolt?
Whatever happens, happens. If
Lecavalier's dealt, the Habs get a hold of the superstar center
they've lacked for years, while the Lightning get key pieces to help
them rebuild. If he stays, the team will have plenty of explaining to
But if Lecavalier's gone, will Martin
St. Louis soon follow?
Could St. Louis perform as well
alongside someone like Plekanec? What about Vinny Prospal? Maybe the
Bolts opt to deal St. Louis to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal?
Something tells me this isn't going to
is the Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Period Magazine and covers the
Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL for TheFourthPeriod.com. He is also a
contributing writer for NBCSports.com and MSNBC. His journals appear
throughout the entire season exclusively on TFP.