February 20, 2009

January's Lecavalier-Montréal Trade Rumor

The St. Petersburg Times reported that last month's rumors of trading Lecavalier to the Montréal Canadiens were more than just rumors. Apparently, the Lightning really were talking to Montréal about trading Lecavalier. Vinny didn't know that until game day yesterday against New Jersey, which is probably why he played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder against the Devils.

I'd read about this a two or three days ago on a blog, Habs Eyes On The Prize, and there's reputed to be a little more to it than just "talk." Rue Frontenac was reporting that the Canadiens' GM was quoted saying that the Lightning contacted them about the trade - that the Lightning were actively shopping Lecavalier. The blog also mentioned that only reason the trade didn't happen was because local companies and corporations might withdraw their financial support by way of not advertising with the team (according to TSN). So, Lecavalier is still with the Lightning only because of that.

(And really, he should be thankful of that. Montréal isn't in the best of shape right now. And the media is in a feeding frenzy in that town because of their collapse.)

I'm not one to believe everything I read, but I find it interesting that this isn't being widely publicized. You know how it is - if it's not true, you read it everywhere. If it is true, you'll have to dig for it. This has the ring of truth to it to me, and it's the kind of thing that wouldn't be widely publicized if it were true.

Now the St. Louis to Pittsburgh rumors make sense. They can't get ride of Lecavalier, so they're probably trying to get rid of St. Louis. It's a salary dump, plain and simple. I'm sure it's nothing personal, of course.

None of this surprises me in the least. As Dan Boyle said when asked about the Lecavalier-Montréal rumors, "Where there's smoke, there's fire." Let me revisit a blog that I wrote back on July 5th, right after Boyle and Lukowich were traded to San Jose:

"You’ll probably be safe from being traded at a whim since you’re forwards. But then, Boyle thought he was pretty safe, too. You might want to watch your backs, just in case, since I don’t think anybody on this team really is safe – and yes, I’m talking to you, too, Lecavalier. ... I get the impression, even from afar, that you shouldn’t trust these guys – particularly when they’re smiling.

"Best of luck to Boyle & Lukowich. It could turn out that you were the lucky ones after all."

And it turns out that they were. Have you seen what San Jose has been doing lately? And where they are in the standings? And there's talk that Boyle could be up for the Norris Troph (Best NHL Defenseman).

So now that Lecavalier has finally realized that he is nothing but a commodity - a thing - in the eyes of the management/ownership, it ought to be interesting to see what he does with that. Things, after all, don't deserve consideration nor respect. I'm sure that's not going to sit well with Vinny. If they trade him, the only phone call he'll probably get will be the one telling him to clear out his locker - and they'll probably chicken out and make Tocchet do the honors.

Two things are at issue here - Lecavalier's contract vs. advertising income. Right now, advertising money is winning, so they feel they can't trade Lecavalier at this time. The other thing going in the fans' favor is that the Lightning are over-estimating the trade value of both Lecavalier and St. Louis. While they're both top-tier players, in most other teams' eyes only Lecavalier is worth gutting their team for. But even then, not for the asking price that the Lightning have put on him. So unless another team is desperate, a trade isn't likely unless the Lightning are willing to settle for less than the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky.

Let's be honest, will he want to play for a team that doesn't really want him, anyways? And if they don't trade him but they do trade St. Louis, will he want to stay? They had a hand in trading Richards away, you might remember. I don't know if he'll ask for a trade, but I don't think any one would blame him if he did.

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