The final touches are still being worked on and nothing can be formally announced until July 1, but sources tell TSN the Tampa Bay Lightning and superstar centre Vinny Lecavalier have agreed to terms on a mega-deal that will pay him $77 million over nine years.
The annual salary cap hit to the Lightning will be about $8.55 million for the length of the contract, but the final year of the contract is said to be only for about $3 million, which means that if Lecavalier retired after eight seasons, his average salary would be as much as $9.4 million.
Read the entire report here.
At $8.5 per season average, this contract is not unreasonable. Lecavalier is arguably one of the top three players in the entire NHL. Tampa's new ownership has been extremely active since they took over and getting Lecavalier under contract has to have been their top priority.
As for term, I don't like the nine year contract, it is too long and Lecavalier will be well past his prime when the contract is near its end. That being said, long-term contracts are commonplace in the NHL today, as most superstar players are signing contracts that last around a decade.
All in all, this is a solid deal for both sides. Lecavalier gets a ton of cash, and the Lightning have their best player under contract at a fair market price for the next while. There is nothing wrong with that.