Eklund recently posted a blog indicating that the rumors of Roberto Luongo to Tampa Bay are heating up and mentioned that the potential deal could be a Luongo for Lecavalier swap. The VL4/RL1 rumblings have been around for a few years now. Since the departure of Khabibulin, the Lightning have really struggled in the goaltending category. Roberto Luongo’s history in Florida along with his family ties makes Tampa the perfect fit for the 33 year old netminder.
The deal Eklund mentioned, in theory, makes a lot of sense. There is a lot of feeling in Vancouver that Ryan Kesler should be moved to the wing in order to utilize his speed, shot and recklessness a little better. Simply put, Kesler isn’t a set-up guy by any stretch of the imagination. Forget about cap-hit or contract for a second, Vancouver fans, and imagine Vincent Lecavalier setting up Ryan Kesler for one-timers on the rush. Put those two together and they should both eclipse the 70 point mark easily. Just remember that for a lot of the season, Lecavalier was playing with guys who aren't recognizable to their own mothers. From the Tampa Bay perspective, the Bolts would be bringing in the undisputed, number one goaltender they have been looking for. Roberto is a classy guy who knows what it takes to win in Florida. At times, the media gives him an unfair shake but let’s get real here and understand that he is, and will be, an all-star. It’s pretty easy to see why this deal makes sense, from a visual point of view.
Since these rumors were floated out there, many fans have been harping on both players’ contracts. Luongo has a cap hit of $5.33million for the next one hundred years while Vinny Lecavalier has a cap hit of $7.7million through 2020. Big numbers? Absolutely. Still, let’s examine this a little further and learn why this deal could actually make a little bit of sense, even from a cap perspective.
The reality of both contracts is that they are front loaded to circumnavigate the salary cap. From all indications, Roberto Luongo will retire in either 2018 or 2019 when his salary drops way off. Lecavalier’s contract is set-up the exact same way. So, in essence, these are six year deals for all-star players who might need a change of scenery. The beauty of the contracts is that when the players retire, the cap hit comes right off the books. Try and find a goaltender of Roberto Luongo’s quality for $5.33million on the open market. I’m telling you right now, it’s not possible. Vincent Lecavalier? Well, yeah he is overpaid for what he can do. He’s not going to score you 100 points (although playing on a team with the Sedin twins, perhaps) or light the world on fire. However, he is going to be close to a PPG player who is all class and one of the best teammates in the world. Because of this, the Lightning would probably have to sweeten the pot with Detroit’s first round draft pick in order to get this deal done.
From a fan perspective, Luongo and Lecavalier’s contracts actually repel us for opposite reasons. Luongo has a manageable cap hit but the term is rather unappealing while Lecavalier’s term isn’t terrible but the cap hit is dreadful. Really and truly, Lecavalier’s contract is manageable for Vancouver just as Luongo’s is probably manageable for Tampa. Would there have to be some shifting? Sure there would, however that shouldn’t be enough to deter these two GMs from making a deal. Ignore cap hits for a moment and think about the talent that could be at play here. Vincent Lecavalier and Roberto Luongo are two world class talents with so much left in the tank. The drive is there, the skill is there, the heart is there.
Thanks for reading.