NHL Free Agency: Dallas Stars Luckily Told No By Vincent Lecavalier
How much would the Dallas Stars have changed had Vincent Lecavalier agreed to sign with the Stars in 2013?
War. War never changes.
Since the dawn of human kind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything: from God to justice to simple, psychotic rage.
In the year 2077, after millennia of armed conflict, the destructive nature of man could sustain itself no longer. The world was plunged into an abyss of nuclear fire and radiation.
But it was not, as some had predicted, the end of the world. Instead, the apocalypse was simply the prolo...
...err sorry. This trip into alternative history got a little too dark a little too quickly. This alternative history, while bad, is not quite as bad as a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of super mutants, Mad Max inspired raiders, and giant angry ants. Our alternative history today centers around Vincent Lecavalier.
Remember that time when the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out Lecavalier's crazy long contract and he signed another crazy long contract with the Philadelphia Flyers? It's not even remotely working out for the Flyers. Broad Street Hockey made it pretty clear what the problem is:
The reality is this: Lecavalier is not a good hockey player anymore, but he thinks he's still a good hockey player. Despite how much stuff Craig Berube was wrong about, he wasn't wrong about Vincent Lecavalier.
This is only two years into a five year deal. Lecavalier appears destined to play for almost any other team next season. It's easy to forget though that the Stars were hot and heavy after Lecavalier at the same time. This could be the Stars' mess. How different would things look if he had chosen to come to Dallas?
On June 28th, 2013 the Stars put the full court press on Lecavalier.
Among the Stars' party were new general manager Jim Nill, new head coach Lindy Ruff, owner Tom Gaglardi and president Jim Lites.
"We made it clear to him that we're interested in him, that we think he would be a good fit on our team, and that we believe he can help us get to where we want to go,'' said Nill. "I think what's most important is we shared our vision of where we think this team can be.''
The Flyers ultimately signed Lecavalier to a five year contract worth a total of 22.5 million dollars. According to Mike Heika the Stars offer wasn't that far off:
One source put the Stars' offer at four years for $19 million, so the average salary ($4.75 million) was actually higher than Philadelphia's, but the Flyers added an extra year.
You may recall that during that summer the Stars were searching for two centers. Two days after their failed pursuit of Lecavalier the Stars traded for Tyler Seguin. The Stars top two centers would have been Seguin and Lecavalier, and our alternative time line begins here.
Having Seguin and Lecavalier locked up long term with Eakin as the third line center would have made the NHL look quite different.
1. What happens to Jason Spezza?
If the Stars had Lecavalier and Seguin they most likely aren't trading for Jason Spezza last year. The Stars would still have Alex Chiasson and Nick Paul would have either remained in the system or been traded elsewhere.
Does Spezza end up in Nashville? With no apparent alternative available do the Predators become a more appealing option for Spezza, or does a team like the Flyers jump into the market without Lecavalier clogging up their cap? If the Predators do acquire Spezza does Mike Ribeiro get a chance for redemption with Nashville?
2. Does Rich Peverley come to Dallas?
The Stars acquired Peverley from Boston with Seguin mere days after Lecavalier told the Stars no. Seguin assuredly still comes to Dallas, but do the Stars still have a need for Peverley? He had a cap hit of over three million and had a history of being a successful center. Lecavalier had a much longer track record of high end production though.
If it came down to Lecavalier or Peverley in 2013 the choice was pretty easy unless you felt Lecavalier was 100% done as a top notch NHLer. The Stars pretty clearly didn't given their offer so you have to think Raptor Jesus would have stayed in Boston.
3. The Stars 2015-16 offseason plan changes significantly
The Stars have 12 forwards, 5 defenseman, and a goalie under contract at the NHL level with an estimated 16 million in cap space. They need to sign Jyrki Jokpipakka, Patrik Nemeth, and Curtis McKenzie. Patrick Eaves and Shawn Horcoff are UFA. The problem goes back to issue number one: no Spezza.
The Stars are looking for a top pairing defenseman, but if they didn't have Spezza the forward group would be severely lacking. Going from Spezza to Lecavalier would add three million in cap space to push the Stars to 19. But, the needs would be significantly greater. Could they reasonable address a second line center with Lecavalier on the roster and pick up the big time defenseman they desire in one offseason? It would be difficult to say the least.
In short, Jim Nill dodged a bullet that would have drastically changed how the last two years have gone. Luck plays a factor in roster assembly. Lecavalier telling the Stars no is among the bigger examples of good fortune this franchise has been given in the past two years.