Vincent Lecavalier is about to get another chance. The veteran centre is on his way to the Los Angeles Kings along with defenceman Luke Schenn after a trade on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Flyers will receive centre Jordan Weal and a third round draft pick for 2016 in exchange for the 35-year-old pivot and the 26-year-old blueliner.
Lecavalier’s role with the Kings will likely be one of support, with general manager Dean Lombardi suggesting that his new acquisition will help out the bottom six forwards while Schenn will slip into the hole left behind by the injury to Matt Greene.
“There’s nothing better than to be on a team that first of all, has been there,” Lecavalier said. “I know the Kings have high expectations for the players, and I love that. It’s just a great team to look at from the outside. From watching them a few weeks ago and how they play together, it’s a team that’s really dangerous and really good, and that’s why they’ve been so successful the last three years.”
The plan is for Lecavalier to play out the season and then retire, which will void the remaining two years of his five-year contract. That makes him all the more affordable for the Kings, plus it gives Lecavalier a chance to ride off into the sunset.
“At this stage of his career, it’s all about getting one last chance to win it all,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s hungry. Given his mindset and the fit on this team, I think it’s a great fit for his role. It’s certainly worth a shot in seeing if this will work.”
Lecavalier has played in just seven games this season with the Flyers and has produced just one assist. He has done the job in the faceoff circle, but his numbers have been on a steady decline and his retirement could not come soon enough for the once-dazzling forward.
With Schenn, the Kings have a chance to bolster their defensive group without putting too much pressure on the new guy. Los Angeles has had trouble forging a solid third pairing with Greene out. Schenn will be tossed in the mix to try to generate that physical element for the Kings, plus he’ll be able to learn from Drew Doughty and that’s never a bad thing.
As for the timing of the deal, Lombardi says that it’s all about giving his club plenty of room to adjust.
“I think it’s important we pull this as soon as possible, to get them into the fabric of this team,” he said. “It allows them to get in here have a longer feeling-out process. And if it doesn’t work, you’re still in a position at the deadline to make an adjustment.”