– The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed center Vincent Lecavalier
to an 11-year contract extension, vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton announced. The deal, which starts following the 2008-09 season, keeps Lecavalier in a Lightning uniform through 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," Lawton said."With this deal our ownership has made it clear that he is the cornerstone of the Lightning, and 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. This is a great day for all Lightning fans."
The franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 273 goals and 602 points in 710 games with the Lightning, Lecavalier, 28, posted 40 goals and 92 points in 81 games in 2007-08, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to record back to back seasons of 40 goals or more. That came on the heels of his 52-goal season in 2006-07 which earned him the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer. A 6-foot-4, 219-pound native of Ile Bizard, Quebec, Lecavalier has scored at least 32 goals in his past five NHL seasons.
“I’m proud and honored 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.”
A consistent playoff performer, Lecavalier has tallied 18 goals, 33 points and 64 penalty minutes in 45 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. His nine goals and 16 points in 23 games helped lead the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup, and he has six goals and 11 points in 11 games during the Lightning’s past two playoff appearances.
Selected first overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Lecavalier has played in three NHL All-Star Games and has represented Canada in the World Junior Championships (1998), the World Championships (2001), the World Cup (2004, MVP) and the Winter Olympic Games (2006). Lecavalier played two seasons for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, tallying 86 goals, 132 assists and 218 points in 122 regular season games. Following the 1997-98 season with Rimouski he was ranked as the top North American draft prospect by the Central Scouting Service and was named to the Canadian Hockey League First All-Star Team.
Lecavalier has made community giving and charitable work a part of his daily life since joining the Lightning in 1998. In October of 2007, he made his largest commitment yet to the Tampa Bay community, announcing a $3 million pledge to construct the Vincent Lecavalier
Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Following the 2007-08 season he was awarded a $25,000 grant by the NHL Foundation in recognition of commitment and service to charities in the community. He also received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution in his community.