NHL offseason trade targets -- Center
July, 7, 2014
By Tim Kavanagh | ESPN Insider
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesVincent Lecavalier's play for the Flyers in 2013-14 was not in balance with his salary.With a vast majority of unrestricted free agents having found a home for 2014-15 in the opening days of the summer shopping season, the primary way for teams to improve between now and opening night is via trade.
While it will be less frenzied than at the trade deadline and the draft, it's worth taking a look at the top trade targets by position. Cap hit information provided is from CapGeek.com, and advanced stats are via ExtraSkater.com.
To get things rolling, let's look at the top centers rumored to be on the block:
1. Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers
Age: 34 | 2014-15 cap hit: $4,500,000 | UFA: 2018-19
The first season of Lecavalier in a Flyers uniform went essentially as expected: he wasn't a superstar, but he proved to be a decent source of points (37 in 69 games) and leadership. However, with that albatross of a contract -- and seemingly perennial cap issues -- the Flyers would be open to moving him, as the club gave Lecavalier's agent permission to speak with other teams. One club that popped up in talks was Nashville, who is seeking a more offensive identity under new head coach Peter Laviolette. It was thought by some that those talks were dead after the Predators signed Olli Jokinen, but that's not the case, per the Philadelphia Daily News.
In any event, the Flyers should hope that other teams aren't hip to the advanced stats game, because Vinny's metrics were not good in 2013-14: Despite starting 57.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone (third-highest on the team), only 45.3 percent of the shots were at the opponents' goal when he was on the ice (the second-worst mark on the team).