Monday, January 12, 2009

Lecavalier rumours

TSN is trying to stir up some mid-season interest by circulating a rumour that Tampa Bay may be shopping Vincent Lecavalier and that the Habs are interested. Now the first part of that rumour may indeed be true. The Bolts committed way too much of the future cap space to just one player. Such was the reasoning for trading Brad Richards ($7.8M/yr through 2011) and Dan Boyle ($6.667M/yr through 2013) .

But Lecavalier is the one player that eats up most of the Bolts' cap space for the next few years. As the Tampa Bay brass is finding out, hockey is a team sport. You need more than just one superstar to carry the team. And if you're going to pay that kind of money, it better be for a true superstar who can change the outcome of any game almost single handedly.

There aren't many players like that, esp those that don't mind the pipes. But even then, even Luongo and Brodeur don't make that kind of money. And for those non-goalkeepers, there are only a few true game-changers like Ovechkin and Crosby.

And that's an interesting comparison. Ovechkin makes $9M/yr. So does Crosby -- and Malkin too. But Ovechkin is surrounded by cheap, young talent. Pittsburgh traded away all of that when they bet the farm on last year's Cup run. And as of this post, they are mired in the 10th spot in the East.

Instead, look at what Gainey has done in Montreal. No real superstars. But lots of balance across all the lines. And when top scorers like Koivu and Tanguay get hurt (or even a top 3 dman like Komisarek), they still don't miss a beat. Gainey has built a team with depth, and that can't be done in the cap era when you OD on a superstar.

And what would happen next year, when the likes of Koivu, Tanguay, Lang, Kovalev and Komisarek are all UFA's? How exactly are the Habs supposed to keep even some of that talent, AND pay Lecavalier AND keep winning? Sure the cap adjusts from year to year, but with this economy, it just might adjust downward.

So thanks, Tampa, but no thanks. Vinny and his enormous salary are simply not sustainable. While it would be nice to get one of the biggest Quebec-born stars in the bleu, blanc et rouge, such a move would be franchise suicide.