The Wings did get a face-to-face meeting with soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Vincent Lecavalier on Sunday.
“They’re talking to teams, we talked to him,” confirmed Wings general manager Ken Holland, who said the meeting lasted between 30 and 40 minutes at the team hotel. “I don’t know what their process is. They reached out to say Vinny was going to be in (New York) this weekend and was going to meet as many teams that had interest to meet him.”
Lecavalier was bought out by Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“He has to make some decisions personally, what’s on his priority list,” Holland said. “I don’t know the process. They asked if we wanted to meet. We said, ‘Yeah.’”
It’s rumored Lecavalier is looking for a five-year deal worth around $5 million a season.
There is some concern of the pace of Lecavalier’s game at this point of his career.
Detroit is in the midst of building a team that likes to get up-and-down the ice.
There would be interest in the 33-year-old center, who’s still good down low around the net, at the right price and length of deal, which they could jump at if it’s for one year.
“(The Wings are) a team I grew up idolizing,” Lecavalier said during a conference call Thursday. “(Detroit) and Montreal were my favorite teams. Steve Yzerman was my favorite player.”
Yzerman, who spent his entire career with the Wings, is the Lightning’s general manager.
Lecavalier has also reportedly met with Montreal, Dallas, Anaheim, Toronto, St. Louis and Philadelphia.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got a move or two left,” Holland said. “Our goaltending is set, our defense is set. If we can get a top 2-3 defenseman we’ll look at it. They’re hard to find. We got 14 forwards signed (including RFAs). Some of them are kids. We have a move or two left over the next week or 10 days.”
The Wings currently have 12 players under contract and two others that are restricted free agents – Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist – will be signed sometime in the new future to bring the numbers up front to 14.
There are still three unrestricted free agents – Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner – that could find their way back on the roster, but those deals may not happen until hours leading up to the start of free agency.
“We’re talking on a regular basis,” Holland said. “I talked to them all just know or yesterday but nothing imminent to report. We’re going to continue to stay in touch.”
If the Wings are unable to sign Filppula they may try and trade his rights to a team so they could try exclusively to negotiate a deal with the center before he hits the open market.
“I haven’t thought about (leaving Detroit), but obviously it’s a possibly that could happen,” Filppula said during the Wings’ end-of-season locker cleanout. “It’d be tough. It’s been a really great place to be. I’ve been so happy here. We’ll see if we go … if that’s what’s going to happen.”
The Wings did make offers to Filppula in August and September before talks broke down.
Filppula, who made $3 million last season, is believed to be asking for about a $2 million raise a year.
Centers Stephen Weiss, Matt Cullen and Patrik Elias could also garner some interest from Detroit along with wingers Jarome Iginla, David Clarkson and Nathan Horton.
There is also a chance the Wings could decide to use one or two of their allotted contract buyouts, but would need to do so by July 3 since that player or players has to go on waivers.
“I’m not even sure what we’re doing. We’re going to get through today. We’ll wake up tomorrow. I’m going to go home,” Holland said. “We’ve got until Wednesday or Thursday to make some decisions. I’ve talked to, if not all the teams, 25-26 teams yesterday or Friday. Probably lots of teams are like I am, they’re not sure what to make. There’s lots of talk but I can’t tell you I sense anything’s really happening. There might be something happening with a team or two or three.”
Teams are permitted two amnesty buyouts that can be used this summer or next summer. They would be able to buyout a player at two-thirds of their remaining value of the contract and not have any of the salary count against the salary cap.