Vincent Lecavalier to be bought out

The Tampa Bay Lightning have decided to buy out Vincent Lecavalier's contract, the team announced Thursday.

Lecavalier, 33, has seven years and $45 million left on his deal, which carries a $7.72 million yearly cap hit.

Tampa will have to pay Lecavalier $32.67 million in the buyout, a source told ESPN.com, which includes an $8 million bonus that had to be paid out in full. The remaining salary is paid out at two-thirds, $24.67 million over the next 14 years.

"Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable," Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. "The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward.

"After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us."

As per the compliance buyout provision in the new NHL collective bargaining agreement, the Lightning will not incur any salary-cap charge for the move.

Lecavalier becomes an unrestricted free agent July 5. As per the CBA, he cannot rejoin the Lightning for at least one year.