It's possible Lightning GM Steve Yzerman opts to buy out at least one of center Vincent Lecavalier or Ryan Malone this summer, the Tampa Bay Times reported this week.
"It's obviously something you think about," Lecavalier told the paper. "At the same time, there's nothing I can do about it."
Signed through 2020, Lecavalier has seven seasons left under his contract, which has an annual salary cap hit of $7.727 million.
It's believed the 33-year-old could be bought out this summer or next, as the Lightning has two compliance buyouts at its disposal, which upon being used will result in that salary figure not counting against the cap.
If bought out, Lecavalier will be owed $30 million spread evenly over the next 14 years.
"We understand this is a difficult contract," Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes told the Times. "There's nothing we can do to change that on our end given the restrictions incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.
"Ultimately, it's a decision the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to assess and make."
Malone, who has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million, would be owed $3.333 million, spread evenl, over the next four years, if bought out.
If the Bolts look to save extra cap space, or use that space on other assets, there's a strong possibility Lecavalier could be bought out. At the same time, if Lecavalier retires early, the Lightning could be harshly penalized under terms of the new CBA.