The Flyers' Vincent Lecavalier had his run as a superstar in his 14 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning end last season. After a modest 10-goal lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Lightning g.m. Steve Yzerman chose to exercise a compliance buyout on Lecavalier.
Between rebuilding around younger players and salary cap issues, Yzerman had to make bold moves.
After Lecavalier received his golden parachute, it took one day into free agency for him to sign a lucrative five year deal with Philly. Reportedly, at least 12 NHL clubs had shown interest.
Despite injuries, moving to an unnatural winger position for part of the year, and no longer having star linemates, Lecavalier managed a respectable 20-goal season.
Our own Alan Greenberg recently spoke to Lecavalier about the move to the City of Brotherly Love.
* ADJUSTMENT TO PHILADELPHIA:
It's been good but it was an adjustment at the beginning of the year. It's not just myself but I have a family with three kids. They made me feel at home. It's been going great. We made the playoffs and we've got to be happy about that after the bad start this year. With where we're at right now, we've got to be proud of what we've done.
* COACHING CHANGE:
Craig Berube replaced Peter Laviolette as Flyers' coach three games into the season. The Flyers started the season losing seven of the first eight games.
I think when a new coach comes in the biggest thing is to be on the same page, He's done that. We keep ourselves accountable as well. It makes a difference. Systems are important but if five or ten guys aren't doing that then it's not going to work. I think the coaching staff and the players keep everyone accountable and it's been paying off for them.
* CHANGES TO THE GAME OVER HIS CAREER:
The game is a little different. There's more parity now, with the salary cap. I think that's the biggest difference. It was always a good game and a great league. There are always great players, so while it has changed it's still same game of hockey. It's been fun.
* TAMPA BAY:
It's always special going back. November was my first game back. That was nerve racking. I was there for 14 years. I have a lot of friends and my family is there. There are players that I'm friends with on that team so it's always special to go back there.
Signing an older player to a long-term contract is always risky business. Lecavalier, who turns 34 this month, clearly has his best years behind him. When Flyers' g.m. Paul Holmgren made a long term commitment to Lecavalier he knew the risks.
Although Lecavalier provided leadership and scoring to the Flyers, whether $4.5 million per year for five years was worth the risk and salary cap hit remains to be seen. Holmgren bought out Daniel Briere's $6.5 million cap hit only to replace him with another expensive veteran.