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Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Updated: July 3, 11:45 AM ET
Flyers sign Vincent Lecavalier

By Pierre LeBrun
ESPN.com

The Philadelphia Flyers have won the Vincent Lecavalier sweepstakes, signing the free-agent center to a multiyear contract on Tuesday.

The Flyers did not disclose terms of the contract, but sources confirmed to ESPN.com that the deal is worth $22.5 million over five years. The deal will average $4.5 million per season and contains a no-movement clause.

Lecavalier, 33, had his previous contract bought out last week by the Tampa Bay Lightning, which owed him $32.67 million in the buyout.

Approximately 15 teams were confirmed to show interest in Lecavalier over the past weekend, with at least nine of them meeting personally with the star center at the NHL draft in NY/NJ.

Sources tell ESPN.com that the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens were seriously considered right to the end.

Detroit, Boston, St. Louis, Washington and Toronto were among other interested bidders.

Lecavalier didn't mesh with Tampa Bay's plans, or at least his contract didn't with seven years and $45 million remaining on it. The four-time All-Star, drafted No. 1 overall by the Lightning in 1998, helped the franchise win the Stanley Cup in 2004 and scored a franchise-high 383 goals.

By buying him out, it saved Tampa Bay more than $7.7 million cap space for the upcoming season. The move cost them $32 million over 14 years because he is due two-thirds the value of his deal spread over twice the term of the contract. He scored a league-high 52 times during the 2006-07 season and had 32 points in 39 games during the shortened season.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren met with Lecavalier on Saturday, a day before the NHL draft. Lecavalier had signed an 11-year deal with Tampa Bay in 2008. He had 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games last season for the Lightning.

The Flyers went 23-22-3 and were 10th in the Eastern Conference with 49 points. After jettisoning several goal-scoring veterans, the Flyers struggled with their offense and hope Lecavalier can bring some punch to the lineup. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound center is no longer the serious threat that he once was.

The Flyers desperately need to shore up their defense and another goalie to work in a tandem with Steve Mason. Under owner Ed Snider, the Flyers have long made offseason splashes by going after the biggest names on the market. They did it again by bringing the 33-year-old Lecavalier to town.

In that Stanley Cup run of nine years ago, Lecavalier and the Lightning outlasted the Flyers in a memorable Eastern Conference final series.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.