PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have signed veteran center Vincent Lecavalier to a multi-year contract.
The Tampa Bay Lightning let their 33-year-old captain go last week, and the Flyers pounced Tuesday night, signing him to a reported five-year deal worth $22.5 million.
Tampa Bay cut ties with Lecavalier to clear space under a smaller salary cap. The Philadelphia Flyers took advantage of both of their compliance buyouts to release forward Danny Briere and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Lecavalier didn’t mesh with Tampa Bay’s plans, or at least his contract didn’t with seven years and $45 million remaining on it. The four-time All-Star, drafted No. 1 overall by the Lightning in 1998, helped the franchise win the Stanley Cup in 2004 and scored a franchise-high 383 goals.
By buying him out, it saved Tampa Bay more than $7.7 million cap space for the upcoming season. The move cost them $32 million over 14 years because he is due two-thirds the value of his deal spread over twice the term of the contract. He scored a league-high 52 times during the 2006-07 season and had 32 points in 39 games during the shortened season.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren met with Lecavalier on Saturday, a day before the NHL draft. He also met with Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli over the weekend in Newark, N.J., the site of the draft, and considered Montreal, as well.