From Al Strachan: Lightning Rod

Al Strachan repackages the same old rumors; but at least he can write coherently. My comments are in brackets.

The rumors regarding Vincent Lecavalier refuse to go away. [I resist inserting, "whose fault is that?"] Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton insists that he has had no trade talks regarding Lecavalier and that he has no intention of trading him. But a number of hockey insiders say that it isn't up to Lawton.

This is primarily a financial matter to allow the Lightning to save $40 million, the amount they've committed to Lecavalier over the next four years. As such, it will be dealt with at the ownership level. [I'm willing to take that at face value; but then, are we to assume Lawton is lying, or that he is going to get fired and ownership will deal VL? -- clearly, we'll know in the next four weeks...]

At the moment, the most widely held theory is this. The New York Islanders are apparently not convinced that John Tavares is worthy of their first over-all pick, and will take Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. That leaves Tavares for Tampa Bay, and with Steven Stamkos already on the roster, the Lightning would have a nifty one-two punch featuring a pair of the game's most promising forwards. [also, with Tavares and Stamkos, in four years they wouldn't be able to afford the contracts those two will likely command while still suffering under VL's huge cap hit -- so I guess I will sign off on the logic of that. It boils down to: Tampa Bay is in a bind because of the VL contract and it's more or less obvious this is their last chance to deal him or they're screwed down the road. I'm fine with that, but so far no-one has confirmed any version of "Tampa is therefore shopping VL." It's more at the level of, "they had better be." But who's to say they won't keep him anyway, as stupid or illogical as that might be?]

They would then deal Lecavalier to the Los Angeles Kings for a package that would include American defenseman Jack Johnson. [the inclusion of Johnson still seems like educated guesswork; who has a contract negotiation coming up? Oh, Johnson and Frolov. DL just dealt O'Sullivan. QED!] It is widely known that the Kings intend to try to make a big splash of some sort this summer. [yes, because DL said as much] They had been leaning towards going after a free agent, but a trade for Lecavalier would work almost as well.

[except for the part where we have to give up players and our first round pick and then have to take a $7MM cap hit for the next 11 years.]