Vincent Lecavalier is now at liberty to speak to other NHL teams regarding a new contract, though unable to be signed until July 5th, 2013 at the onset of NHL free agency.
The big name players are in pursuit, as you could expect: Toronto has a meeting scheduled, Les Canadiens have already spoken to Vincent; Detroit and Philadelphia are both supposed to have interest in Tampa Bay's former captain.
And while I'd be better off cutting the cord, one option that is out there for Vinny makes it a bit tougher to do so by way of intrigue: the Florida Panthers.
Florida is rebuilding, and though Vincent has said he would like to go to someplace where he has a chance to win... Well, the opportunity to stay in (relatively) the same neighborhood may have its appeal to him.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon spoke to Fox Sports Florida of his interest in Enzo:
"We've got young big centermen that would learn a lot from him, so yeah, we've got some interest," Tallon said. "Hopefully he has some interest, as well. That's the way it starts. It takes two to tango. If he doesn't want to come, so be it. But I think there could be some open dialogue there and it would be a benefit to our franchise as far as him being able to help our young guys develop."
Ah, so Vinny would become a great sage and imminent offensive threat/leader for a young Florida team in their ideal scenario. It's also undeniable that this would warm up the morbid state of the cross-state "rivalry" between the Cats and the Lightning; pouring salt on Tampa Bay's wounds and signing their deposed captain? That shouldn't make Lightning fans feel good. Not. One. Bit.
That doesn't mean it'll happen, but it's just one possible scenario for Lecavalier's immediate future. Stay tuned.