Longtime NHL forward Vincent Lecavalier has officially announced his retirement today. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie was first with the report. Lavoie also notes that he will be placed on waivers but that won’t have any effect on his decision to walk away from the game.
The 36 year old had two years remaining on his contract with a full cap hit of $4.5MM (split equally between the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers). The $2.25MM that each team carried as a cap hit now comes off the books. General Fanager adds that there will be no salary cap recapture penalties for either team. Despite walking away from the last two years of his deal, Lecavalier will still be paid $1,761,905 annually until 2026-27 as part of his buyout from Tampa Bay.
The decision comes as little surprise as Lecavalier had indicated that he was leaning towards retiring when he waived his no-movement clause to accept a trade to the Kings last season. After recording just a single assist in seven games with the Flyers, his play picked up following the deal as he tallied ten goals and seven helpers in 42 games with Los Angeles.
He spent most of his career with the Lightning after being the first overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Lecavalier played in 1,037 games with the Bolts (a team record), collecting 383 goals (also a team record) and 491 assists. For his career, he finishes with 421 goals and 528 assists in 1,212 games between the Lightning, Flyers, and Kings.
Lecavalier won several awards over his career, including the Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals in 2007), plus a Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Lightning and a World Cup with Team Canada in 2004. He also currently has the most points of anyone drafted in 1998 as he sits 17 points ahead of longtime Tampa teammate Brad Richards.