Vincent Lecavalier met with the Detroit Red Wings this weekend — part of a whirlwind couple of days in which he talked to at least a dozen clubs — and he plans to narrow his list down in the next few days. Any team left in the running better be prepared to make a serious commitment.
Darren Dreger reported Sunday’s TSN draft coverage that one NHL GM told him Lecavalier is seeking “five times five” — as in five years and five million per season. Fellow insider Pierre LeBrun put Lecavalier’s demands in a similar neighborhood.
That’s about half of what Lecavalier was set to make next season with the Lightning, before Tampa Bay opted to buy him out. The $5 million per year is also about in line with what Valtteri Filppula reporetedly wants from his next contract. The Red Wings opted not to trade Filppula’s rights during Sunday’s draft, meaning he could become an unrestricted free agent on July 5 if he does not re-sign.
An average salary of $5 million per season would make Lecavalier the fourth highest paid Red Wing, behind Jimmy Howard, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Detroit currently has $8.2 million in cap space, following the weekend’s re-signing of defenseman Jakub Kindl. The franchise still would like to keep restricted free agents Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith and possibly unrestricted free agents Danny Cleary and Damien Brunner.
Obviously, big money spent on Lecavalier would cut into the Wings’ bottom line, possibly forcing them to use a buyout or follow through on plans to trade Carlo Colaiacovo, Jordin Tootoo or others.