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Lightning make captain Vincent Lecavalier team’s first compliance buyout

Sean Leahy
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The NHL's buyout period began Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET, and while we already knew a few names who were getting checks cut to them soon -- Ilya Bryzgalov, Danny Briere, Tomas Kaberle -- there will be plenty more coming before the July 5 deadline.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier will soon join that list of compliance buyouts as the team confirmed they will use one of their two options on their captain.

From the Lightning:

"Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable," said Yzerman upon announcing the buyout. "The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward.

"After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us."

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Before a compliance buyout can go through, a team must put the player on waivers for 24 hours. Once that period expires, then a check can be cut. Teams cannot re-sign players they buyout for a one year period. In Lecavalier's case, because he has a no-move clause he can reject going on waivers, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Damian Cristodero.

Said Lecavalier's agent to the Tampa Times:

"Listen, we're going to sit down and have conversations and start looking through various teams with possible needs, fits," Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes said. "He's got a young family. He's got to go through hockey-wise what fits and family-wise and make a decision."

According to CapGeek, a Lecavalier buyout will cost the Lightning $30 million over a 14-year span.

The first overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, once dubbed the "Michael Jordan of Hockey" by former Lightning owner Art Williams, Lecavalier's production has dwindled since a 108-point season in 2006-07. With 0.8 points per game over the last three seasons, the 33-year old Lecavalier will certainly have his suitors (on a much cheaper deal) once he becomes a free agent.

Here's what it looked like when Vinny signed in 2008, saying he was happy to spend the rest of his career in Tampa Bay.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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