TAMPA, United States – Canadian centre Vincent Lecavalier extended his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning by signing a new 11-year deal beginning in 2009-2010.
The new contract is worth $85 million making it the most valuable in the NHL after Alexander Ovechkin’s 13-year, $124m contract. It will keep Lecavalier in Florida until the 2019-2020 season.
"Not only is Vincent one of the most dynamic players in the NHL, he's one of the classiest people you'll ever meet off the ice as well," Tampa Bay’s vice-president of hockey operation, Brian Lawton, said. "With this deal, our ownership has made it clear that he is the cornerstone of the Lightning. Vincent has shown his dedication to the franchise and the Tampa Bay area by signing for less than he undoubtedly would've received on the open market."
The Ile Bizard, Quebec, native has played for the franchise since being drafted first overall in 1998. He is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 273 goals and 602 points in 710 games.
“I’m proud and honoured to be committing myself to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the rest of my NHL career,” Lecavalier said. “It’s no secret how I feel about the organization, the fans and the Tampa Bay community, and there’s no place else I’d rather be. Combine that with the enthusiasm and commitment to winning that has been shown by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, and signing this long-term deal was an easy decision.”
Lecavalier’s contract also includes a no-move clause, meaning that he could veto any transaction, even being put on waivers. He will make $10m each season for the first seven years, with a decreasing income for the final years of his contract. The average annual salary will be $7.7m.
Lecavalier led the franchise to the Stanley Cup in 2004 and won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey with Canada a few months later. Additionally, he won the MVP awards of the World Cup and the Stanley Cup playoffs that year. Lecavalier also represented Canada at the 2006 Olympics, the 2001 IIHF World Championship and the 1998 IIHF World U20 Championship.
Other recent big contracts include Slovak Pavol Demitra’s two-year, $8m deal with the Vancouver Canucks and Russian Sergei Fedorov’s one-year extension with the Washington Capitals, worth $4m.