The Vincent Lecavalier rumors started swirling around the Dallas Stars almost from the moment the Tampa Bay Lightning bought him out, and things seem to be coming at a frantic pace early this afternoon.
While Lecavalier cannot officially sign until July 5, it was expected that he would make his decision sometime early this week. The veteran center met with the Dallas Stars over draft weekend, and it's been thought since then that Dallas would be the favorite to sign the 33-year old .
A pair of reports broke within a few minutes of each other this afternoon indicating that the all-star center could soon be making his decision, and that Dallas would be his choice. There's nothing official from the Stars as of yet, but there's certainly a lot of smoke at this point.
Been told by a 2nd NHL Source that they believe Vinny is going to Dallas Stars. Spoke to Stars and they still haven't heard anything.— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerHockey) July 2, 2013
Another report out of the Detroit says much the same. That's significant because the Detroit Red Wings were rumored to be the other front runner for Lecavalier as early as Tuesday morning.
The Red Wings are out of the bidding for Vincent Lecavalier, who is seeking a five-year deal for $5 million per season, which is a longer term and more money than Detroit is willing to offer. Lecavalier's agent told teams he has identified a club he wants to play for. It's believed to be Dallas.
Obviously, nothing is finalized yet, and all is quiet as far as official news goes. But with this much smoke out there, it's hard to imagine there's not at least something brewing. At this point, this should be regarded as nothing more than hopeful speculation.
We have reached out to the Stars ourselves and have not yet heard back. We'll update once we receive a response.
Lecavalier had 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games with the Lightning last season and had scored at least 20 goals for the four consecutive season before that. But he is 33 years old and was bought out of his contract by the Lightning just a few days ago. He had seven years remaining on his contract at a cap hit of more than $7 million per season.
Our own Josh Lile had a breakdown of Lecavalier's current comparables and possible asking price this morning. It makes for very interesting reading as things continue to develop.
Another report out of Detroit corroborates the same rumors, this one from the highly respected Helene St. James:
The Wings met over the weekend with Vincent Lecavalier, but given the immense interest in his services, Detroit is unlikely to be his landing place.
Lecavalier probably will end up in Dallas, where new general manager Jim Nill, formerly the assistant GM in Detroit, is molding the Stars into a playoff team. Lecavalier is believed to be looking for a five-year deal, at around $5 million a season, and the Wings don’t want to commit that much term to a 34-year-old with questionable pace.
So the folks in Detroit think Lecavalier's likely to end up in Dallas, at least. We'll keep tracking the situation as it develops.
[Update to the update]
And like every other great rumor of the summer, this one now has two very notable dissenters. Aaron Ward was the first one with the newest version
Sources saying Dallas Stars no longer believe they are in contention for Lecavalier. #TSN— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) July 2, 2013
That was quickly backed up by Darren Dreger:
Further to @aaronward_nhl report on Lecavalier, I have also been told by a Stars source, Lecavalier has eliminated Dallas from contention.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2013
So what does this all mean? Who knows at this point. There are several possible scenarios. First is obviously the two sides have mutually decided they are unable to reach an agreement. The second is that one side is using this as a negotiating ploy (and gee, doesn't that sound familiar after the lockout), particularly after the reports this morning may have changed who had more leverage in hammering out some important details. And there are more involving some permutation of those things above.
What we know is this: Lecavalier will announce his attention sometime soon, possibly as soon as tomorrow. The Stars are obviously interested in him, though perhaps not willing to match the contract he might get from somewhere else. Where it goes from here, only Lecavalier knows.