Well, he almost did. The Stars were in there to the end, a source confirmed.
But the Philadelphia Flyers won out, agreeing to pay $22.5 million over five years for the 33-year-old center.
The Montreal Canadiens were in the mix for a good run, as well, but couldn’t make it work. The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings also got serious consideration from Lecavalier among the 15 or so teams that showed interest.
“Wow,” one executive, whose team wasn’t in the running, texted to ESPN.com after the deal was announced.
Is Lecavalier worth $4.5 million a season?
The Flyers get a very motivated player who is out to prove he can still compete at an elite level. And in choosing Philadelphia, Lecavalier proved many wrong and showed that he was willing to go to a real hockey market.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux was pumped to hear the news, texting ESPN.com to say, “Really excited, he will bring a lot to our team.”
Lecavalier will bring his 6-foot-4 frame, to be sure, and hands that have always been soft. I give Lecavalier credit for not choosing what seemed like the safest choice in Dallas, where he would have made good money and been left alone, as was the case all those years with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team in another non-traditional hockey market.
He’s in for a bigger challenge in Philly.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will surely try to move out a body or two. And don’t forget they still need to find another goalie. This could reignite those Braydon Coburn trade talks.
• The focus now shifts to fellow buyout unrestricted free agent Danny Briere before the rest of the UFA market opens Friday. The Canadiens, having lost out on Lecavalier, made contact with Briere's camp Tuesday night, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. Sources also indicated that the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators are among the teams to show solid interest in Briere and have already spoken to the Briere camp, which is led by agent Pat Brisson. Other teams were expected to contact Briere's camp Tuesday night and Wednesday.
• Daniel Alfredsson hasn’t re-signed with the Ottawa Senators, and while I still don’t think we’ll see him in a different uniform, I warned everyone last week after he announced he was playing another season that his contract wasn’t a rubber stamp. Still no contract with Ottawa, and here comes the 48-hour window when other teams can call free agents. I fully expect other clubs to contact Alfredsson’s agent, J.P. Barry, once that window opens. And why not listen to what’s out there, even if you still plan on ultimately re-signing with Ottawa? Stranger things have happened. I bet you my Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys jersey that the Bruins will be among the teams to phone Alfredsson's camp. GM Peter Chiarelli was with the Senators’ front office before going to Boston and knows Alfredsson well, and it just so happens he has a hole in his top six with Nathan Horton leaving. Different player, I know, and Alfredsson is aging, but Chiarelli has always admired the Swedish winger. Not trying to make Senators fans paranoid; odds are he stays put. Just pointing out that other teams will be phoning.
• The San Jose Sharks traded winger T.J. Galiardi to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2015. With rookie center Tomas Hertl expected to play with the Sharks next season, plus newly acquired winger Tyler Kennedy in the fold, San Jose had to move a body out. It also suggests that the Brent Burns experiment at forward could be permanent. At some point, I think, you’ll see the Sharks announce that they plan on using him up front again next season.