Monday is turning into a very, very active day in the chase for the services of one Vincent Lecavalier. The deposed Lightning captain has been courted by all the usual suspects (sans the New York teams, but that's just unreported - it may have happened for all we know)... And many of the big players started dropping like flies from the hunt.
It was reported earlier in the afternoon that the Detroit Red Wings - Lecavalier's favorite team growing up - was out of the hunt for the services of #4. Shortly after, news broke that the Montreal Canadiens were out of the running as well. This didn't seem like much of a reach if you read Greg Wyshynski's Puck Daddy report this morning.
We spoke with someone who knows Lecavalier fairly well during the NHL Draft, and he said – without qualification – that Vinny didn’t have a desire to play in Montreal, despite being a Quebec native. The spotlight would simply be too intense.
This is something we've heard whispers about in Tampa for years, though with always the contradictions from Quebec saying Vinny wants to come home. For what it's worth, Pierre LeBrum reported later in the evening that the Habs were in the running
Dallas was played up as a serious, serious destination option for Lecavalier for most of the day - but Stars GM Jim Nill told the press the Dallas Stars were out of the running early in the event.
Then all hell broke loose around 6:45 PM EDT with the news Lecavalier was in a contractual agreement... With Philadelphia?
Hearing the Flyers are Lecavalier's choice. Working on confirmation.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2013
5 years, $4.5 per for Vinny in Philly confirmed.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2013
Vinny can't officially sign with the Flyers until July 5th, but he can reach an agreement to do so. So, unless things change, this is a done deal.
Lecavalier didn't want the harsh spotlight in Montreal, where being a provincial hero and native speaker would make expectations insurmountable. Philadelphia can compare directly to Montreal in its treatment of players - you're either a king or you're a bum.
Lecavalier has brought himself and his family potential stability in Philadelphia as his contract is purported to have another No Move Clause in it, yet he signs with one of the more dysfunctional and unstable organizations in hockey as well. The Flyers, featuring big holes on defense and in goal, recently bought out Illya Bryzalov and Daniel Briere to create cap space.
(This story is in the process of being updated with the breaking news to flesh out links and sources; check back shortly)