Lightning to buy out Vincent Lecavalier

The Tampa Bay Lightning will buy out centre Vincent Lecavalier's contract. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

The Tampa Bay Lightning will buy out centre Vincent Lecavalier's contract. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 PM ET

Vincent Lecavalier said goodbye to the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday.

The club announced it will buy out the remaining $45 million Lecavalier is owed on the final seven years of his contract.

“Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward.”

The total cost of the compliance buyout to the Lightning will amount to $32.667 million over 14 years. The team will also pay the centre $8 million, the full amount of what’s left on his signing bonus.

“I’m going to have to adapt, there’s no choice here for me and my family,” Lecavalier said during a conference call Thursday.

Lecavalier, 33, also hinted at the type of team he would want to join, leaning towards a contender.

“As a hockey player you want to win, you want to be in a situation where you think a team can have success and/or a team that can be close to turning it around and you think they can really make that push, and I think that’s going to be one of my motivations,” he said.

Lecavalier becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 5 and will be free to sign with any team.

“Listen, we’re going to sit down and have conversations and start looking through various teams with possible needs, fits,” Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes told the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s got a young family. He’s got to go through hockey-wise what fits and family-wise and make a decision.”

Lecavalier is the Lightning’s all-time leader in goals, with 383, and games, with 1,037, to go along with 491 assists and 874 points, trailing only Martin St. Louis in those categories.

The first overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft, Lecavalier was also the franchise’s first 50-goal scorer.




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