Vincent Lecavalier is going to get one last shot at chasing a Stanley Cup. The Los Angeles Kings announced Wednesday they have acquired Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.
Lecavalier, 35, had a trying tenure as a Philadelphia Flyer. Following a buyout by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013, Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5-million deal with Philadelphia, but hasn’t been able to find a fit on the roster. In his first season with the club, Lecavalier had a decent season and was able to rack up 20 goals and 37 points in 69 games, but he slipped to eight goals and 20 points in 2014-15 while being forced to sit out more than a handful of games as a healthy scratch.
Things haven’t been much better for Lecavalier this season. He was scratched for the first eight games of the season and has been a healthy scratch 20 times this season. Lecavalier has also been out the past 11 games with a back injury. All told, the one-time 50-goal man has played just seven games this season and has one assist.
“I still believe in what I can do and what I can bring,” Lecavalier told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun Tuesday. “I can bring leadership, whatever role a team would want me to do. I can play solid both ways. It’s just a matter of having the chance to have some type of role. Whatever role that is, I’d be ready to fill it and help that team win. That’s the most important thing at my age and where I’ve been; the last few years have been really tough. I just really want to win and help be part of that puzzle to help a team win."
In order to make the trade happen, the Flyers retained 50 percent of Lecavalier’s salary, meaning he will count for only $2.25 million against the Kings’ cap. An interesting note about the trade, per LeBrun, is that Lecavalier’s agent, Kent Hughes, has said the veteran winger will retire at season’s end. Lecavalier’s deal is not a 35-plus contract, so if the veteran were to retire, the Flyers would not be on the hook for a salary cap penalty.
Schenn, like Lecavalier, has had half of his $3.6-million salary retained by the Flyers. Schenn, 26, is onto the third team of his career after being dealt from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team which drafted him fifth overall in 2008, to the Flyers back in 2012.
Schenn was dealt to Philadelphia in exchange for James van Riemsdyk, but he was never able to recapture the ability that made him a breakout star on the Maple Leafs’ blueline during his first few seasons. The result was Schenn going from a potential top-two defenseman to a third-pairing blueliner over the past few seasons.
The Flyers' acquisition of Weal will likely give the 23-year-old the opportunity to finally crack an NHL roster with some regularity. Over the past three seasons, Weal scored 58 goals and 172 points in 212 AHL games with the Manchester Monarchs. Weal was set to have his first full season in the NHL this year, but wasn’t able to get a regular role on the Kings. Weal has suited up for just 10 of Los Angeles’ 39 games, hasn’t found the score sheet and is averaging little more than eight minutes of ice time per outing. Heading to Philadelphia should give the young pivot a fresh start.
Following the trade, the Kings also announced they have demoted defenseman Derek Forbort the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Los Angeles now has roughly $606,000 to work with under the salary cap, while the trade opens up nearly $3.5 million in cap space for the Flyers.