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OK, great day in NY yesterday. The Lion King on Broadway was UNBELIEVABLE. I am telling you if you get a chance, the costumes and sets were pure awesome. The way they recreate animals is just brilliant. I mean, I obviously went for the kids, but how often as an adult do you find yourself saying, "Wow!" out loud? Dead serious, it is that magical.
Anyway, back to Rumorland.
There really looks to be no debate that the Lightning are in a hell of a great position going into this year's draft. With the #2 pick and Vinny Lecavalier as MAJOR chips added to a Steve Stamkos, who is getting exponentially better every time he steps on the ice, the Lightning are perched on the brink of becoming a possible powerhouse for years to come.
If they keep Vinny and they keep Tavares or Hedman they will be in amazing shape.
If they move the #2 pick it will be for some serious depth and the return could be as high as two top two line players.
But were I to bet on what they will do, I would say that they will move Vinny.
I talked to a generally skeptical source this week that said, "I believe that even Vinny now sees it as a growing likelihood. The time has come to move on. He has alot invested in the area, so it isn't easy."
Last season, early, the Lightning fans made themselves known that moving Vinny would be a unpopular decision, but what happened in the last month with the emergence of Stamkos was interesting. Subtly the shift in sentiment went from "Vinny is the reason we are here" to "Hmmm, what exactly can we get for him?"
The answer is: Plenty. And the suitors are growing. Montreal is still the favorite, but as I wrote last year they really gambled in waiting it out last season. There was a point when Montreal had Vinny to themselves basically because other teams were mired in Cap crunches or serious Cup runs. But Montreal played chicken with this and now they aren't alone in that tunnel as the train's lights approach.
Enter Vancouver. The Sedins, once considered shoe-ins to return are making very "runnerish" looking moves. And of course, the playoff collapse against Chicago has left Canucks fans very upset...Feeling like they had their best shot with this group and the best this group can do is only win a single round. Vancouver also has Bieska, who struggled in the playoffs, but is still highly regarded and fits into the asking price for Vinny perfectly.
Enter LA. The Kings have the money and the hoopla, but I am not sure they have the Bieska/Markov type player. Unless the #2 is dealt for Luke Schenn at which point the Defense priority would not matter as much. Quite simply the Lightning need to address their defense and get 2 solid top 4 D out the Vinny/#2 pick game. So The Kings could make the move for Vinny if the #2 is dealt.
And then there is the highly unlikely scenario that Vinny and the #2 could be packaged. It is hard to imagine what kind of return that would bring, but I have heard that at least one team in eastern Canada has considered the option.
Were I to do a Probability on where Vinny lands for the Rumor Chary
it would look like this...
Tampa 35% Montreal 30% Vancover 25% LA 10%
More UFA Rumor Chart Tweaks Explained
The Wild are in this game, but NJ still leads the way. Don't count out Dallas
Highly valuable roll player. Hard to imagine him anywhere but NJ, but I am told that interest from elsewhere is high.
The Kings are jumping the forefront of this battle, while Anaheim and San Jose both want him back
A return to Tampa is possible, but will hinge on all we talked about above. Buffalo gaining momentum.
Oh does he. Oduya is quickly becoming a highly talked about player. Quite a few teams on the Chart for him, but Edmonton and NJ are in a battle.
Mattias Ohlund: (FREE CHART PLAYER OF THE DAY)
Very valuable and a key domino this summer.
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