Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports that Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is very high on free agent center Vincent LeCavalier. The Capitals interest in the former Lightning star was first reported last week.
Apr. 14, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier (4) against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Buffalo beats Tampa Bay 3 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
According to Carrera, Oates met with LeCavalier on Saturday to try and sell him on why he fits in Washington. “He is a very classy guy, professional, a good hockey player,” Oates told Carrera. “And he’d fit great with us.”
While LeCavalier’s level of interest in playing for the Caps remains unclear, he does have some familiarity with Oates’ system and from when Oates was the assistant coach on the Lightning in 2009-2010.
From Carrera’s report, it seems as though Oates and LeCavalier spent a large portion of their meeting discussing LeCavalier’s feelings about the past week’s events (being bought out, becoming a free agent, etc.). It’s certainly a commendable gesture by Vincent’s former coach, but hopefully it also scores the Capitals some style points when it comes time for the center to put pen to paper.
On the topic of contracts, Pierre Lebrun of ESPN reports that LeCavalier is targeting a four-five year deal at $5-million per season, presumably taking him to the end of his career.
With Mike Ribiero seemingly testing the free agent waters, LeCavalier would provide the Capitals with much-needed depth at center to go with Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich. Laich will be returning from an injury that kept him out of all but nine games in 2013, so having a veteran like LeCavalier would allow Laich to work his way back into the mix at a comfortable pace.
LeCavalier is a clear fit for the Capitals, but with the Flyers, Canadiens, Stars, Blues, Red Wings, Flames, Maple Leaves, Bruins and Ducks all reportedly having met with the former No. 1-overall pick, the Caps’ chances remain incredibly unclear. Hopefully Adam Oates can pull some strings.