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NHL free agency update: Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Bryzgalov getting bought out

06.27.13 at 1:04 pm ET
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Vincent Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier

It’s only Day 3 of the NHL offseason, and free agency hasn’t even begun yet, but the news keeps on coming for some of the league’s top names.

The Lightning announced Thursday that they are buying out Vincent Lecavalier from the rest of his contract, which still had seven years and $45 million left, in an effort to clear cap space. It ends the center’s decade-and-a-half tenure with Tampa Bay, the team that drafted him first overall in 1998, and makes him an unrestricted free agent a week from Friday.

Lecavalier will still get about two-thirds of the money he was due, and he ends his Lightning career as the organization’s all-time leader in games played (1,037), goals (383), power-play goals (112) and game-winning goals (60). He was also a central figure in the team’s Stanley Cup win in 2004.

“Me believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long-term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us.”

Lecavalier can join the club Ilya Bryzgalov joined — or was forced to join, rather — Tuesday. The Flyers bought out the Russian goalie’s contract just two years into the nine-year, $51 million deal.

Bryzgalov posted a 2.79 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 2012-13, and his agent, Rich Winter, didn’t let his client’s Philly era end with taking some parting shots at Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.

“It’s terrible in Philadelphia for a goaltender,” Winter told a Canadian radio station, according to USA Today. “They block shots. They don’t open up lanes. Goaltenders can’t see the puck. The goalie coach [Jeff Reese] has no authority. The head coach doesn’t listen to him. It’s an issue and it’s made it a challenge.”

With the free agency period rapidly approaching, three other teams were active signing their players to multi-year contracts.

The Blues inked defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who won an NCAA championship with Boston University in 2009, to a four-year, $17 million deal.

Additionally, forward Andrew Desjardins got two years from the Sharks, and forward Artem Anisimov re-signed with the Blue Jackets to the tune of three years and $9.85 million.

Read More: Andrew Desjardins, Artem Anisimov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Kevin Shattenkirk Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It