Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/06/13 at 10:17 AM ET
via the Flyers PR department...
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 6-4, 215-lb free-agent center Vincent Lecavalier to a multi-year contract, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
"It is a great honor for me to be a part of the Flyers,” Lecavalier said. “This is a great hockey team with a great history which I'm very proud to be a part of. I'm going to do my best to help lead this team to another championship."
Lecavalier, 33 (4/21/1980), comes to the Flyers after spending his entire 14-year NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He most recently recorded 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points over 39 games during the 2012-13 season. He was named the captain of the Lightning prior to the 2008-09 season and served in that role until Tampa Bay exercised a compliance buyout of his contract last week.
Lecavalier was drafted first overall by Tampa Bay in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in all 82 games his rookie season, posting 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. Since that first year, Lecavalier has scored at least 20 goals in each full NHL season, with last year’s lockout-shortened campaign the only exception.
In 2003-04, Lecavalier helped the Lightning to their only Stanley Cup championship, scoring nine goals and adding seven assists for 16 points in 23 playoff games. During the regular season, he posted 32 goals and added 34 assists for 66 points and a career high plus-24 rating as the Lightning earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lecavalier posted his best season in 2006-07, when he won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer with 52 goals, while also finishing third overall in the NHL in points with 108 in 82 games. He also was the recipient of the NHL's King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.
In 1037 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, Lecavalier has posted 383 goals and 491 assists for 874 points. He has also posted 52 points (24g-28a) in 63 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He reached the 1,000 career-game milestone this past season, doing so on January 21 at the New York Islanders.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT VINCENT LECAVALIER
“I think it is a very good signing for our club. Vinny brings so many things to our team. I really think his experience and his leadership with our young group of forwards and the young players we have will be beneficial to our team’s success. To get a player like Vinny in our lineup and in our organization is a real positive. He has been an elite player in the NHL since he got here, 13 – 14 years ago. He has proven that he can play all different positions and all different spots, power play, penalty kill. He is going to be used in a position as one of our top forwards. I think he brings a lot of benefits to our offensive group as well as our power play and leadership. We will sort all of this out in training camp. But to bring an elite forward like this in to the mix is a welcome addition.”
“I’m pretty excited about him coming to Philadelphia. I would watch him play as I was growing up and he was just a really exciting player to watch. He plays really hard and I think the Flyers fans are going to love him, too. Obviously, it’s exciting.”
-- Claude Giroux
“The signing was a big surprise. We lost two great guys and two good teammates in Briere and Bryzgalov. But, obviously, it is very exciting to get Vincent Lecavalier. He is a proven winner. He is a great leader from everything that you hear and a great team guy. I’m looking forward to having him up the middle and that makes our top four centermen one of the best in the league, for sure.”
“First of all Vinny is a very good person off the ice and is a very good player on the ice. We almost had a chance to grow up together. We played against each other since we were like eight years old. Obviously, I had the chance to play with him as a teammate in Tampa. I not only enjoyed playing with him on the ice but having him as a teammate off the ice. He’ll be a very good addition to the Flyers and is good news for the Flyers.
“His role kind of changed over the last couple of seasons in Tampa with the arrival of Stamkos and younger players. But he is a big centerman who can play anywhere and can play on the power play. He’s a guy that if something happened to one of your players on the ice, he liked to protect his teammates. He was the captain in Tampa. I know I saw him a couple of times dropping the gloves when somebody would go after one of Tampa’s good players. He’s a guy with a lot of tools to help the Flyers to be better.”
“I think he is a great addition to our team. He is a guy with a lot of experience who won a Stanley Cup and was the captain of his team for a long time now. He is a guy with a lot of skills who can bring a lot of different things to the Flyers. Vinny and I have had the same strength coach the past two years, not this summer, though. I’ve crossed paths with him. I am not a close friend but I know him and trust him. I know I had a little fight with him on the ice this past season but I already texted him when the team announced the signing on Tuesday (July 2). So if the fans are worried about it, there is definitely no problems between us.”
“First and foremost Vinny Lecavalier is a terrific person. He is going to add a lot, a lot, to the community and a lot on the ice. He is going to fill that second line center that the Flyers want, he is going to help the young guys, and is great in the community. He works tirelessly with various charities and never turns down an autograph.”
---Rick Tocchet (Tampa head coach, 2008-2010)
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