Vincent Lecavalier hasn’t played since Nov. 12. When he plays next, it will be as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
The 35-year-old finally got his wish, getting shipped out of the Philadelphia Flyers to the Kings, a.k.a. Flyers West, on Wednesday. According to Darren Dreger, Lecavalier and Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn for forward Jordan Weal and a third-round pick.
Now, who in their right mind would trade for Vincent Lecavalier at $4.5 million and Luke Schenn at $3.35 million? Well, that would be a team that was offered these two salary albatrosses and had the Flyers retain 50 percent of their salaries.
Based on the General Fanager numbers, that means Schenn and Lecavalier combine for a $3,925,000 cap hit. The Kings will have to make another roster move to add the additional contract and to clear our a little more space.
The Kings have been looking to bolster their blue line, and Schenn would be the defenseman that, in theory, would give them the type of stay-at-home game that Matt Greene did. Good third-pairing guy that will thrive in that Kings’ system, and he was caught in an absolute log-jam on the Flyers’ blue line.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi compared Schenn to Greene on a conference call with reporters.
"In terms of Luke, one of the things that was clear was the loss of Greene for the year…we’ve lost a physical element back there that we think is showing up. We see a lot of Matt Greene in Luke," Lombardi said. "He’s still a young player. We think there’s some room to grow."
But that brings us back to our original question: Who in their right mind would trade for Vincent Lecavalier?
He’s coming off a 20-goal in 68-game season, but has only played seven games this season. He had only four points in his last 19 games last season, in limited ice time. So that's five points in his last 26 games.
He’s a character guy and a former scoring ace that’s now a role player. All of this is from the Lombardi check list, so it’s not a surprise that Lombardi decided to dabble in Vinny.
"I think Vinny, at this stage of his career, it’s been made clear to us that it’s all about getting one last chance to win it all," Lombardi said. "I think he’s hungry. Given his mindset and the fit on this team, I think it’s a potentially great fit in his role."
The collective heart attack from Kings fans when the trade was announced was about the fact Lecavalier has two more years on his contract at a $4.5 million hit. But this Pierre LeBrun piece on Lecavalier that not-all-that-curiously ran this morning spells out exactly how this will play out:
If he was a rental player, he’d be on a new team by now, but because he has two years on his contract after this year at a $4.5 million cap hit ($3 million salary), teams are obviously scared by that commitment. It’s why he hasn’t gone anywhere to this point despite being on the market for a year and a half.
My sense is Lecavalier’s agent, Kent Hughes, has made it clear to teams that if they took a chance on his client, an effort would be made to ensure those final two years on the deal wouldn't hang over the club in one form or another.
Renaud Lavoie of TVA spelled it out more clearly: “Vincent Lecavalier will play for the Kings for the rest of the season and intend to retire at the end of it.”
So one last shot at a ring for Vinny, and a veteran forward for the Kings down the lineup.
As for the Flyers, Frank Seravalli notes that they have a ton of retained salary at the moment:
#Flyers' buried / retained salary is astronomical: Vinny ($2.25M), MacDonald ($3.975M), Schenn ($1.8M), Gagner ($2.25M), Grossmann ($500K).
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 6, 2016
However, when Schenn goes UFA this summer, his money leaves; and when Lecavalier retires, his money leaves.
You have to hand it to Ron Hextall: Rectifying the Lecavalier drama and clearing out a body from the defense in this manner is pretty shrewd, and if Weal – who has some skill, and is a prospect Hextall knows from his Kings days – works out, all the better.
LISTEN TO YAHOO SPORTS' HOCKEY PODCAST