BY: John Mamola
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s decision to use their compliance buyout on captain Vinny Lecavalier brought plenty of reaction on Thursday morning. LeCavalier was the first overall selection in the 1998 NHL draft and has become a very public figure in the Tampa Bay Community. Lightning television analyst, and former NHL player, Bobby “The Chief” Taylor told WDAE’s Ron and Ian Show that Vinny will be remembered for his service to the community first and foremost.
“Vinny was such an even tempered and unaffected guy for his entire career” said Taylor. “It never went to his head, he never big-timed anybody. He was always available, and he’s a very special guy. He did a lot for our city and our community and he carried himself so well.”
LeCavalier is Tampa Bay's all-time leader for games played with 1,037, goals with 383, power play goals with 112 and game-winning goals with 60. However with seven years, $45 million left on LeCavalier’s contract and a $7.727 million cap hit, it was difficult to fit under the new NHL salary cap.
“I was shocked” said Taylor. “But when you look at the business side of it, it makes all the sense in the world.”
LeCavalier will be an urestricted free agent as of July 5, and able to sign with any team except Tampa Bay.