Simon Gagne and Vincent Lecavalier have provided their fair share of frustration to fantasy owners. Is Lecavalier merely a 70-point player now? Is Gagne washed up? Short-sighted fantasy managers will say yes on both accounts and only shop for TB players with the last name St. Louis or Stamkos, but if you can get them cheap, you might want to take a consider Gagne and Lecavalier.


It's no surprise that these two met and became friends during their QMJHL years in the mid to late 90s. They've also done a bit of training together in off seasons and kept in touch over the years. This past summer when Philadelphia approached Gagne about waiving his NTC, Gagne did not want to leave Philly, but quickly realized it was happening one way or another. When you look at what the Flyers received (Matt Walker and a fourth round pick), the instantaneous reaction was, "Seriously? That's all?"? There was a reason why Philadelphia didn't have much bargaining power though. Despite constant rumors of Gagne being traded to the LA Kings, Simon Gagne had told Paul Holmgren that he would be willing to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Lightning alone. Gagne's reasons were (1) TB's cap space wasn't at the ceiling like Philadelphia's, so he pictured the Bolts as a home rather than a rental living situation and (2) he wanted to play with his buddy Vincent Lecavalier. They had skated together in All Star games, Olympics, and other International tournaments, but never shared the same locker room for more than a few weeks at most. After a few weeks, the deal was done.


Now with a story like that, just about everyone on the planet expected these two to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders and padding their stats. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and people began to give up. Right now is the perfect time to buy low as most fantasy GMs look at Stamkos and St. Louis' production and begin writing off the Lecavalier-Gagne tandem. In all likelihood though, these two will be putting points on the board right around mid-to-late February all the way through early April, just in time to help your playoff push.


Some players like Dany Heatley can move from team to team with no adjustment needed. They show up and produce like nothing happened. Others, especially ones who have had an injury plagued past, need that time to adjust to a new system and a new way of life. Daniel Briere quickly fell out of favor in Philadelphia and many wanted him and his "albatross"? contract out of town. After adjusting to Philadelphia and getting healthy, his 30 point performance in the 2010 playoffs set an NHL record. Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Jeff Carter had fans and fantasy owners writing Briere off. Now Gagne isn't Daniel Briere, but in 2009, what was Briere's value? It's important to realize when the buy low moment is happening and investing rather than writing a player off like the rest of the world.


Vincent Lecavalier has gone through his own injuries and issues and has seen his value consistently decline since posting 200 points from 2006-2008. He managed 70 points last season, but his number one center role has been transitioned to the new number one overall player on the team, Steven Stamkos. Vinny no longer has St. Louis on his wing which is a pretty big adjustment for him. He's not likely to score 90-plus points again, but he shouldn't be too bad of a 70-point center with upside. As soon as he and Gagne get their chemistry down, these two will be putting points on the board at will.


Both players are more than capable NHLers who can put together point-per-game runs for a few weeks to possibly even a couple months. Gagne showed last year in the playoffs that he has a drive to win and will work extremely hard to get there. After suffering a broken foot in the New Jersey series, doctors told Gagne he would be out the remainder of the playoffs, even if the Flyers were to make it to the Stanely Cup Finals. Yet Gagne opted for a surgery that put screws in his foot and he returned four weeks earlier than expected. He scored nine goals on the stretch, two of which were game winners, and he was an integral part of the Flyers run to the Finals. It was Simon Gagne who tallied the final goal of the historic Philadelphia-Boston series. On the other hand, Lecavalier is a player who had been the go-to-center in Tampa Bay for years and now had to step aside as Steven Stamkos took over. There were rumors of Lecavalier being shopped to Montreal and talk of his shoulder injuries being too much to overcome, but Lecavalier still reached the 70-point mark in 2009-10, a feat that only 30 players in the league were able to do. Both have been written off, but neither are going down without a fight. Each player has had their own set of adversity or challenges, but the two 1998 first rounders still have a lot of hockey in them and they want to prove it.


Lecavalier is better than Gagne, but in most fantasy formats, left wing is harder to fill than center. Gagne is not an 80 point player, but should be a 30-30-60 player who can get at or above 70 with a full season on Vinny's wing. Vinny is probably a 25-45-70 player who could flirt with 80 if Gagne buries his chances. Most recently, Gagne has five goals in his last seven games, and Lecavalier assisted on three of those. Vinny has six points in his last eight games. They're not at the point where they're going to produce at a point per game pace yet, but they are starting to get acclimated to each other on the ice and it's only a matter of time before they find the third part of the line and begin to click. At only 30 years of age, each of these two players has a lot of hockey left in them, but their value is likely at the lowest point it will be before they are truly washed up.


If you're an owner, hold on.


If you're not an owner, buy low, and if you can't buy low, stay away. Now's definitely not the time to pay full market value.



Check out my section at Dub's Take for articles on Mike Santorelli, Justin Schultz, Andreas Nodl, & Stefan Elliott, as well as in-depth game audits, with the most recent one on the WJC Championship game between Russia and Canada!

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duballstar014 said:

... Haha, actually it all started with me being a Flyers fan and Simon Gagne owner...I never really cared much to invest in Lecavalier, but knew the Vinny & Gagne story and was curious how it would play out at the beginning of the year. When Gagne was out for a month, I could see everyone souring on Gagne quickly...if they hadn't already. Then I read an article that opened my eyes to fantasy hockey strategy and I realized that I really wanted Lecavalier in my league. Angus stepped in and stole him (rat bastard!) but I was already putting all the pieces together in my head. I knew Dobber had done countless ramblings and threads on Vinny...but I wanted to do the combo.

And yes, Lecavalier isn't the 90+ point player he was. He's a 2nd line center who gets PP1 ice time and will be in the 65-75 point range for the next couple years...unless he and Gagne get that chemistry thing nailed, in which case their performance will BOTH increase.

All of that stuff aside, I'm very confident that these two will click right when you need them to THIS year. If you are looking to acquire assets for a playoff push, see if you can grab both of them.
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Rhys Richards said:

... Dub, another excellent article. I don't think I'm putting words in Angus's mouth when I say that we both read with particular interest and with Ultimate implications in mind.
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Rusty Pickles said:

Rusty Pickles
... Early in the season Brett Clark manned the point. Currently it is Kubina. When he returns from his conditioning stint in the AHL it will be MA Bergeron. When they have a forward at the point it is St Louis or Lecavelier.
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

duballstar014 said:

... Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback.

Pengwin, you've got some great questions.

1. The TB cap situation is great for this year. Not so great moving forward with Stamkos becoming the elite player that he is. Lecavalier is signed through eternity and with the bond that he and Gagne share, I'd think that Yzerman will do everything he can to keep Gagne there at least another 2-3 years. Knowing Gagne, he will take a pay cut. He should be fine making somewhere around the $3-$4M range, possibly going a bit higher for a shorter term contract. A 2 year $7.25M contract is a decent number for both sides.

You're right about Stamkos. He deserves north of $8M and he will get it. With St. Louis already under contract for a few more years, Yzerman will make sure he has Stamkos first, then worry about Gagne.

In terms of cap space he can free up, Ohlund has been a huge disappointment. If they need his cap space, they won't be afraid to Sheldon-Souray his ass and bury him in the farm. Ryan Malone, though carrying a $4.5M cap hit, is only due $11M over the next 3 seasons, making his contract appealing trade bait. Don't expect Yzerman to move him at the deadline because he'll want him in a playoff run, but in the offseason his hand might be forced. Getting rid of these two players alone frees up the cap space necessary for Stamkos and with Gagne taking a pay cut, they're in great shape. Clark, Hedman, and Kubina have all been playing well, but they'll need to add some depth on the blue line soon if they choose to depart from Ohlund.

After watching success from other teams with young goalies, don't be surprised if they move Tokarski in with Ellis next season and hope for a Bobrovsky-type surprise to the NHL. If they choose to keep him in the farm, Yzerman should consider how saturated the goalie market is and be patient. Something good will present itself for him.

2. The TB power play is mostly forwards. You've got Kubina getting the bulk of time from the point, with Hedman next, and Clark last. That's pretty much it for the D. The main line usually features Gagne, Lecavalier, Malone, Stamkos, and St. Louis. I have to admit I'm not sure who is playing the point in this situation, but I'll do some HW after the All Star break and comment on my article in the forum section.

Thanks again!
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

... Fantastic piece, Dub. Great analysis.

Won't go as far as to give you five compliments (don't want your head to swell, commish), but I enjoyed reading this one. smilies/smiley.gif
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

bball said:

... Did Dobber put you up to writing this article? LOL

Seriously, awesome analysis. Thank you for really going in depth to dig behind the scenes and throw it out there. Too many times, we do not look at the larger picture, only what we want to see.
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Excellent Summary Dub - man, you have a great writing style. You break paragraphs up so well. These are a joy to read. So much good, key background on the Gagne/Vinny pairing. I want to throw five compliments your way: Awesome, Informative, Clear, Valuable, Unbiased.

I send the compliments so it doesn't get lost how much I enjoyed the article when I voice a couple counter-points:

1. I would have liked to see you address the TB cap situation. There is a lot of "going-forward together" analysis/prediction here. But... will Gagne return to TB next year? Stamkos (RFA) deserves $7-$8m/yr. TBy should also really sign a top-tier goalie for $3m-$4m (Bryz? Vokoun? re-sign Rolo for $2.5m?). With $38m currently committed to just 12 players - is it likely that Gagne will return at a "hometown discount"? Players still need to get paid to make a living. This would have been a nice item to discuss/forecast.

2. How does TB seem to be running their PP? Who is the odd-man out? Early in the season I know that Gagne was moved to the front of the net allowing the talent (Vinny, Stammer, MSL, D) around the perimeter. This didn't seem to help Gagne at all, he had very few PPP. Now, I believe, he is PP2 with Purcell. Sure, they got a couple points last game, but I don't think TB's PP2 is going to rack up the points. Addressing the PP strategy in TB is another item I would have liked to see addressed.

Overall: Five Stars - great info!
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

loco man said:

loco man
... Nice analysis
I traded Kunitz for Gagne just before Crosby went down and am happier with each passing day. I also grabbed Purcell off waivers and am also liking that one. Purcell - Vinny - Gagne a nice line for sure and starting to produce!
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0

DuklaNation said:

... Lecavalier's 80+ pt days are over. 60-70 pts is the new range.
January 26, 2011
Votes: +0
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