I was very surprised to hear that Niklas Hagman was placed on waivers today (see Hayley's story below). At first blush, it didn't make sense to me. Why would the Flames mess with something that has been working so well? The team has been fantastic lately.
Granted Hagman has been in a bit of a slump lately, but the Flames already have decent cap space--what should be enough to make any moves they need to--if they even want to make any moves at all by the deadline.
Why the need to clear more cap space? With Kotalik and Hagman waived and Langkow on LTIR you are looking at $10 million plus in yearly cap room for the Flames. Players within range of this dollar figure are few and far between, and it doesn't take long to connect the dots to see who might be in play. The name that came up first in my mind was Vincent Lecavalier.
Steve Yzerman in Tampa has been rumored not to be a fan of Vinny's contract, and may be willing to move it for less than some may think. Contracts at this level can actually be seen to have negative value in some cases, as only the teams ready to go to the cap ceiling each year will even consider them.
Vinny's contract is one of the monster contracts out there: very scary in length--eight more years to 2019 with a cap hit of $7.727 million per year.
Keep in mind that for the last three seasons Lecavalier has not even been at a point per game pace. He is definitely underperforming for what he is paid and he may be available if Yzerman views him as a sandbag.
Like my article on Brad Richards before, Vincent Lecavalier represents that holy grail for the Flames: the elite #1 center. If the Flames are prepared to waive Kotalik, Hagman and Langkow remains on LTIR for next year, they could potentially bring Vinny in cap wise.
*Deep Breath.* Whether they should or not is what I have to take time to think through. Vinny is 30-years old and has had a bad stretch of injuries lately, but there is no denying his elite skill level. He appears to be the odd man out now in Tampa with Stamkos' pending extension coming up, and Stevie Y may be under pressure to move Vinny out and put that money towards Stamkos.
I am honestly not sure how I feel about it though. I'd have to see the details of the trade if it happens, but what do you think?