February 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier (4) takes the ice for pre-game warmup against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lecavalier? Richards? Buyouts Give Wings More Flexibility

There are plenty of murmurs around the league right now about teams that may utilize their compliance buyouts as organizations try to shed dough facing a reduced salary cap next season.

Needless to say, there are some big names being floated around that will surely peek the Red Wings’ interest in the event they become available.

As the asking price for a number of high profile UFA’s is likely to be sky high, these compliance buyouts will provide more depth to the free agent talent pool this summer.

Let’s take a closer look at five players who could be on Detroit’s radar if these rumors become reality:

1. Brad Richards  Center/ 33 years old/ 11 G/ 23 A/ 34 P/ +8/ 46 GP/ 6’0/196lbs

Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation has swirled around Richards’ future since new Canucks bench boss John Tortorella chose to sit the centerman during the playoffs.  GM Glen Sather has remained mum on the subject which has led to further hearsay that Richards’ days on broadway are numbered.
Current Contract:

$6.666 cap hit/ 7 years remaining

Why He Would Interest The Wings: 
With Centerman Valtteri Filppula primed to leave town, Richards could be a suitable replacement to center the Wings’ second line. Question is: can he regain his old form?

2. R.J. Umberger Left Wing/31 years old/ 8G/ 10A /18P/ 48 GP/+3/ 6’2/ 220lbs

Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe too rich a contract for the Jackets’ blood (especially after adding Gaborik and Anisimov). Didn’t earn his dollars last season.
Current Contract:

$4.6 Million /4 Years remaining

Why He Would Interest The Wings: 
Big body who can skate. Umberger is a good offensive player who excels with talent around him.  Scored 26 goals during the ’08-’09 season.

3. Vincent Lecavalier Center/ 33 years old/ 10 G/ 22 A/ 32 P/ -5/ 39 GP/ 6’4/ 208lbs

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Although he’s struggled recently, Lecavalier’s history says he can still be a pretty good player. Getting his salary off their books would be a huge relief for a Bolts team desperate to become contenders once again.
Current Contract: 
$7.727 cap hit/ 7 years remaining
Why He Would Interest The Wings: 
Detroit has an impressive record with restoration projects. Lecavalier could surely find his game centering a second line alongside Henrik Zetterberg.

4. Ryan Malone  Left Wing/ 33 years old/ 6 G/ 2A/ 8P/ -3/ 24 GP/ 6’4/ 219lbs

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

He has battled injuries of late, but when healthy Malone can be a difference maker. If the Lightning can’t shed Lecavalier’s contract then Malone is likely next on their to do list.
Current Contract:
$4.5 million cap hit/ 2 years remaining
Why He Would Interest The Wings: 
Plays a rugged forechecking game Wings are lacking. Playoff battle proven forward who could fit in well with Detroit’s first or second line.

5. Brooks Laich  Center/ 30 years old/ 1 G/ 3 A/ 4 P/ 8 GP/+2/ 6’2/ 200lbs 

Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Laich might be the most unlikely of the five candidates to be bought out, but the Capitals are up against the cap. Injuries have forced Laich to miss a lot of hockey recently.
Current Contract:
$4.5 cap hit / 3 years remaining
Why He Would Interest The Wings: 
Is a versatile player who does whatever the team asks of him. Defensively responsible and capable of producing offensively as well. Does things the Red Wing way.


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Tags: Brad Richards Brooks Laich Detroit Red Wings R.j. Umberger Ryan Malone Vincent Lecavalier

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