January 07, 2016
Wednesday wasn’t the NHL trade deadline, but there certainly still was a flurry of activity.
Nashville and Columbus swapped a couple of blue-chip young players in Ryan Johansen and Seth Jones straight up, Mike Richards landed on his feet in the nation’s capital, and finally (and most importantly to us), the Philadelphia Flyers were able to part ways with Vinny Lecavalier.
The full deal that Ron Hextall orchestrated goes like this: The Flyers trade defenseman Luke Schenn and center Vincent Lecavalier to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Jordan Weal and a 2016 third-round pick.
Flyers are retaining 50% of both Lecavalier and Schenn's salaries.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 6, 2016
Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes confirms his client Vincent Lecavalier will retire at the end of the season, forgoing final 2 yrs of his deal— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 6, 2016
Rumors and speculation started earlier in the day when ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote a piece detailing a conversation with Lecavalier about his desire to play. Later, after the trade was announced, LeBrun liked the Kings' gamble:
Whether it works or not, the Kings gave up a prospect in Jordan Weal that I don't think they thought was ever going to really play for them, plus a third-round pick. So a small price to pay to gamble that Lecavalier, 35, still has a bit more juice in his tank and that the 26-year-old Schenn still has enough upside in his game to make a difference, the way Matt Greene was for the Kings in a third-pairing role.
The price was cheap, the reward could be beneficial. I've got no issue at all with this move by a Kings team looking very much like a threat to win its third Cup. The time is now.
On the other hand, the Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski, likes what the Flyers did more:
You have to hand it to Ron Hextall: Rectifying the Lecavalier drama and clearing out a body from the defense in this manner is pretty shrewd, and if Weal – who has some skill, and is a prospect Hextall knows from his Kings days – works out, all the better.
As did Broad Street Hockey’s Charlie O’Connor, who focused on the long-term consequences of the trade:
With this deal, Ron Hextall continued the process of slowly removing the Philadelphia Flyers from salary cap hell, and received tangible assets in return. It may not help the team win more games this season, but the Flyers are in much better shape for the future than they were this morning.
TSN and Philly’s own Frank Seravalli provides some background on Lecavalier’s thinking:
Lecavalier, now 35, never had plans to play in 2016-17 anyway - but kept the Flyers in the dark in the hopes Ron Hextall would be desperate enough to unload his deal. Wednesday gave him one last shot at glory, an opportunity for the 411-goal scorer to go out on his own terms.
Ultimately, the Kings signed off on the deal on faith alone. Lecavalier was not able to sign a guarantee stating his retirement intentions - a written promise for the future would have nullified the deal - leaving Kings GM Dean Lombardi to take Lecavalier at his word.
And for the Los Angeles point of view, here is what they’re saying at the SB Nation Kings blog Jewels From The Crown. The writer doesn’t really understand the trade from L.A.’s side:
The summary of the deal is this: the Kings dealt a player that was never going to fit in with the Kings along with a mediocre draft pick to the Flyers for a couple of players that probably won't have a very large impact on the team either way. Ultimately, I am confused. It seems like the Kings traded a player they were going to scratch all the time for a player that they probably should scratch all the time. Also Luke Schenn is there for some reason. This gives the Kings about 13 defensemen on the NHL roster. That seems to be too many.
I'm not a fan, but now that the stink of the deal has blown away, I have decided that the Kings are going to be fine so I don't really care.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann