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June 25, 2013 | 2:43pm ET
Lightning mulling over buyouts
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning seems to be contemplating buying out one or two of its current players, as the buyout period is set to begin Wednesday at 11pm ET.

Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier and left wing Ryan Malone both could be bought out to create much needed salary cap space for next season and beyond.

Kent Hughes, the agent for both players, told the Tampa Bay Times that he's yet to hear from the Lightning, but knows buyouts are possible.

"We understand it's something they might be contemplating," Hughes said. "It would be natural to do so."

Lecavalier, 33, has seven-years and $45 million left on his contract, which comes with an annual cap hit of $7.727 million.

The Bolts might choose to hold on to Lecavalier for one more season and opt to buy him out next summer -- the last year compliance buyouts are allowed. The biggest concern for the club is if Lecavalier retires before his deal expires, the team could be hit with significant penalties, as per the new CBA.

"We understand this is a difficult contract in a difficult cap environment and we recognize (a buyout) is within the club's right," Hughes said. "One way or another there will be clarity in the next seven to nine days."

Malone, whom the Lightning has dangled as trade bait the past two seasons, isn't concerned about a possible buyout.

"It occupies zero of my thoughts," he told the Times. "I have no control over it. If they want to buy me out, there's nothing I can do. I would try to prove them wrong. It is what it is."

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 evenly, over the next four years, if bought out.


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