Did the Flyers Handling of Vinny Lecavalier Come From Hextall?
Back on Jan. 6, the Los Angeles Kings acquired Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn from the the Flyers in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third round selection.
On Sunday, Lecavalier scored the game tying goal with 13 seconds remaining in the third period in a 3-2 win over the Sharks. The goal was Lecavalier’s fourth of the season, he now has five points in nine games since being traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.
Lacavalier had a streak where he scored goals in three straight games and four-of-six after scoring just eight goals in 64 games with the Flyers over the last two seasons.
Part of the agreement to make the deal was that Lecavalier's agent said that his client would retire at seasons end. The decision to retire means that the Kings - and Philadelphia, which is retaining part of the contract - will be off the hook for his remaining salary and cap hit following this season.
If he doesn't retire, he has two seasons left on his five-year, $22,500,000 contract. So what happens if Lecavalier's hot play continues and he decides not to retire?
"First off, the Kings would be really pissed," laughed Flyers insider Dave Isaac. "It's something they agreed on, but can't actually get in writing, that would really be Vinny going against his word there."
With the Flyers struggling to score goals, their 2.2 goals per game ranks just 29th in the league, one would think the team would have given Lacavalier a chance, but it doesn't seem that the team gave him much of a chance to show what he could do.
"I think they were trying to break Lecavalier mentally into breaking his contract by having him retire early," Isaac stated about the Flyers decision not to play Lecavalier, making him a healthy scratch. "They were hoping he would do that in the middle of the season, it would have provided them some cap relief"
He was a healthy scratch in all but seven games this season for Dave Hakstol after playing just 57 games in 2014 for Craig Berube.
So should the Flyers have given Lacavalier more of a chance?
"Yeah I really do," Isaac said. "To me personally, I think this came from higher up than Hakstol. That Ron Hextall was really the one who said don't play this guy. Lacavalier ended his career with the Flyers with 22 consecutive healthy scratches, so somebody somewhere said this guys not going to play. There was clearly something going on there where the Flyers were not going to play him."