By Mary Cunningham
So, Flyers general manager has said all the right things about Vinny Lecavalier.
And so has Vinny about his own mediocre self:
“I’m still in shape,” Lecavalier said Friday. “I really just want to get my chance. I am confident in my abilities and I move on.
“I kept a good attitude. You do not want to be a cancer in the room. You want to stay a good teammate, and that’s what I tried to do. A good bunch of guys, it makes things easier. It is the past. I want to be in shape in September and playing hockey, that’s it.”
But Hextall has been unable to find a trading partner for Vinny.
“We’re status quo,” Hextall told CSN Philly on Thursday. “We’re planning on going into the season with Vinny and see what happens. Do I get a call with interest? I don’t know. At this point, we’re status quo.”
The Flyers signed Lecavalier, 35, to a five-year $22.5 million contract prior to the 2013-14 season. He has three seasons remaining with an average annual value of $4.5 million.
Lecavalier received a $2 million bonus July 1. CSN said Hextall hoped teams would be interested in a trade after the Flyers paid it, but that has not been the case.
Lecavalier had NHL career-lows with eight goals and 20 points in 57 games last season. The 16-year veteran had 20 goals and 37 points in 69 games during the 2013-14 season, his first with the Flyers.
Lecavalier signed an 11-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008 but was bought out with seven years remaining. The Flyers then signed him.
Lecavalier last week told RDS he was preparing to play this season with the Flyers.
New coach Dave Hakstol said he will use training camp to evaluate Lecavalier along with the rest of the roster.
“I’m trying to get familiar. I’m not trying to make decisions with video,” Hakstol said. “I don’t like doing that. I’m trying to get a baseline of knowledge of everybody, but at the same time, I don’t want to overanalyze things. That’s just not my style. That’s not the way I want to do things.”
Hextall also said trading a defenseman is likely. The Flyers are close to the $71.4 million NHL salary cap with about $580,000 remaining, according to war-on-ice.com. Philadelphia signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a two-year contract this week, reportedly with an average annual value of $3.875 million.
“In a perfect world, we’d find some space, but we’re under the cap and if we start the season where we are at, we’re comfortable,” Hextall said.