This is a real speculative reach on my part and that's why I'm not placing it on the front page of Raw Charge or in the transaction StoryStream. It really isn't something that you'd expect, or should expect, and really is just the musings of a bored writer on the evening of July 3rd.
GM Steve Yzerman made a very competitive pitch to RW Jerome Iginla on the opening day of NHL free agency to the point the club was a finalist for the services of Iggy. He ended up opting for Colorado. A hole remains in the experienced veteran forward department, though the Tampacuse core certainly gained experience last season, and having Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan and Anton Stralman doesn't hurt a thing in that department.
Going to training camp, months away, with the team they have now, I don't think Steve Yzerman or Jon Cooper should be at all concerned about the experienced veteran element. The battles on wings will play out, Jonathan Drouin will or will not push someone out of the lineup and make it to the NHL, and Tampa Bay will be stronger for it.
Yet if you had to go for another veteran wing right now, out of all the available players in a shrinking field... Why not do what this fan suggests; why not bring back Vincent Lecaalier?
It's a reach, it's a complete and utter reach at that - Vinny's a center, he has a big contract, he's proven more brittle with each year that passes. He also might be wary of rejoining a team that long-time teammate Martin St. Louis felt the need to distance himself from last spring. Other friends - Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson, and Ryan Malone - have all been moved recently. Steven Stamkos now leads this team and Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer and Matt Carle are the guys Vinny has played with before and knows. Would he want to come back to that?
Better questions being would Steve Yzerman want to take on the four remaining years of the five-year deal that Vinny still carries around? That's a year longer than what he was offering to Iginla, who is a natural wing. The $4.5 million cap hit isn't exactly friendly either; it's the same amount the club just got rid of in the elaborated Teddy Purcell trade.
Purcell was never looked at in team history as a cornerstone to the franchise though and was never labeled the face of the franchise. His disposal wasn't inspired so much because the team wanted to ditch him but because of the heinous contract he carried around (thank you OK Hockey) and how it could not justify the large cap hit and contract length. Even a $4.5 million AAV makes things tighter than I'd think Steve Yzerman would want; Tampa Bay's payroll is currently $66,868,302 according to Capgeek. Contracts would have to be moved in acquiring Lecavalier, and the Flyers likely would not be willing to make a desperation trade like they did with Simon Gagne to the Bolts in 2010 (meaning no garbage contracts being dumped on them).
When Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, was given permission to talk to other clubs, he probably gave Yzerman a phone call as far as we know. He might have gauged the situation right there and found out the Bolts won't be going in that direction. Or, perhaps he didn't? We don't know. We don't know if Lecavalier would willingly switch to the wing - likely left wing and not right - or if Steve Yzerman would willingly take on a player that locks up a roster spot that could sooner be given to his top draft choice from 2013.
What we do know right now is that Lecavalier is linked to the Nashville Predators in rumors. We also know the Bolts have the forward depth (though young) to compete in this league without additions (or at least we think so after what we saw last season).
In the end, it's wishful thinking for fans to hope for Lecavalier to return in a deal to the Lightning. It doesn't mean it won't happen - just look at how Sunday played out - but the likelihood is sort of a stretch at this point in time.