Tracking a Future NHL Superstar: Vincent Lecavalier

By pbadmin


Position: Center

Born: April 21, 1980

Height: 6-3″

Weight: 177 lbs.

Team: Rimouski Oceanic

League: QMJHL

Notes: The #1 pick in the NHL Draft by Tampa Bay

Hockey 2000 has decided to keep a track on the current #1 prospect of the 1998 entry draft,
Vincent Lecavalier. He is still young, but looks to be a dominant force in the future.
This section will be continously updated by senior writer Nicole Weiss, and will keep you up to
date on all of Lecavaliers doings.

Added update: July 16

Well, no big surprise that Lecavalier went first overall to the Tampa
Bay Lightning and already he’s being saddled with tremendous
expectations. Here’s what Lightning officials in the know had to say
about the French phenom that now carries the hopes of hockey in Tampa
Bay:

“We expect him to lead us to a Stanley Cup championship… He’s been
described to us as the Michael Jordan of the NHL… There’s no
question he’s our future… He’s the poster boy — the person we’ll
build around. In three or four or five years he will be the best
hockey player in the world… What he needs to think about is building
a legacy. He’s going to be the person we build around…The Lord
blessed him with a unique gift and he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, I
mean there’s no question about it, one of the greatest players of all
time…”

–Arthur Williams, the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning

“Let’s just say I wouldn’t compare him to Michael Jordan… We
consider him to be the best amateur player in the world… Will he
play next year? That will be decided in training camp.”

–GM Phil Esposito.

“As far as I’m concerned we’re no longer the last place team today…
He’s an 18-year-old who has good maturity. But he’s still a boy –
with tremendous talent. We have to make sure as an organization that
we don’t screw up. And we won’t.I don’t compare Lecavalier to Michael
Jordan. I just hope he becomes a Michael Jordan…”
Instead, the ever-enthusiastic Demers compared him to Steve Yzerman,
the Detroit Red Wings centre who Demers coached in the 1980s. “He
starts in the same place as Yzerman. He comes to a team with 44
points. Yzerman came to a Detroit team that had 40. He comes to a last
place team and we all know what Steve did with that team. “

–coach Jacques Demers

And what did Lecavalier himself have to say about all the hoopla?

“We’ll see what happens in training camp. I never played against NHL
guys before. I’ll do my best and if I’m not good enough, I’ll go back
to junior and play a lot of games and try to get better… It’s good
pressure. He(Williams) just drafted me, and he likes me very much. I
think he’s a very good man… I’m just going to go to Tampa Bay and do
my best and see what happens.”

–Lecavalier

I guess now it’s just a waiting game until this fall’s training camp.
Until then, bon chance Vincent…

***quotes taken from The Hockey News and SLAM! Jr. Hockey

Added update: May 17

Once again the young French phenom has come out on top, both in the eyes
of the scouts and in those of the CHL. Lecavalier remains the top ranked
prospect in the CSB’s final ranking after finishing the season
58-44-71-115-117, +27 in the regular season and 18-15-26-41-46, +4 in
the playoffs, where he finished second to only JP Dumont. Lecavalier was
also tops when the CHL’s awards were handed out where he was named the
First Team All-Star center and with Legwand as the runner-up. Many NHL
GM’s have fallen in love with Lecavalier, notables include Colorado’s
Pierre Lacroix and Philly’s Bobby Clarke, and with those teams scheming
on how to move up and snag the lanky offensive star, it should provide
for an interesting draft day. Until then, Lecavalier, Legwand and the
rest of the hopeful prospects can only sit back and wait…

Added update: March 21

No longer the undisputed number one prospect for the 1998 NHL Entry
Draft, thanks to the spectacular play by OHL rookie phenom Dave Legwand,
Vincent Lecavalier has settled back into his game. While he’s still
putting up the points, currently at 43-32-55-87, Lecavalier is playing a
more well-rounded game. He’s a +3 and his 87 PIMs show that his fiery
nature is shining through. Everyone in the hockey world is eagerly
anticipating the final CSB rankings as the draft looms nearer but
there’s some talk that Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix likes Lecavalier
enough to use his four first round picks to trade up to snag the flying
Frenchman…

Added update: February 13

Well, another Top Prospects game has come and gone and once again the
top pick for the draft failed to impress. Last year’s wunderkid Joe
Thornton managed only to notch one assist at the Chrysler Cup Challenge
and failed to show why he was number one. Didn’t affect him at the
draft, however, as the Bruins took Thornton first overall and hoepfully,
it will be the same case for 1998 young phenom Vincent Lecavalier.
Lecavalier, captain of Team Orr, went pointless and was unable to lead
his team to victory over David Legwand’s Team Cherry. The tall, skilled
French Canadian looked uncharacteristicly tight and unfocused Tuesday
night for some reason unknown. Perhaps all the media coverage has
finally gotten to him?
Number 2 Legwand also went pointless but put out of solid effort that
did nothing but improve his chances of dethroning Lecavalier.

Added update: February 7

In just two days, number one ranked Vincent Lecavalier will face off
against number two David Legwand for what could be the tantamount event
as to decide who really is number one. “I think it will be competitive.
For all the guys, there’s a lot riding on it. If you have good game,
you’re not worried about it. If you have a bad game, you worry about it
a little more,” said OHL rookie leading scorer Legwand.

Lecavalier continues to handle all the importance placed in the game as
a true pro. “I think there’s lots of media right now, but I think I’m
doing a good job concentrating on hockey. I think that’s the most
important thing for me right now. When it’s time for media, I will go
with the media, but when it’s time to play hockey, I’ll concentrate on
my game.”

Lacavlier went right back to where he left off after representing Team
Canada in Finland last month and is currently 32-53-85-97 and a +3 in 42
games, 12 less games than leading scorer Mike Riberio.

Added update: January 17

Despite a poor showing by Team Canada at the recent WJC, the play of the
youngest member of the team, Vincent Lecavalier, was anything but poor.
While he wasn’t his usual flasy self, Lecavalier impressed many with his
solid and consistent play on an underachieving team. He spent most of
the tournament at left wing and had little trouble adjusting. He played
well and showed toughness and grit mucking along the boards, as well
having no fear playing in traffic. He also added a goal and an assist on
a team that had a heck of a trouble scoring. Lecavalier, while not
turning any heads with his play, also didn’t do anything to hurt his
status of the top prospect.
He’s returned to Rimouski and continued on his scoring spree. Despite
missing games to play for Canada, Vincent is 8th in scoring at 29-43-72
in 35 games. Just as impressive are his 72 PIMs, 9 PPG and 3 Game
Winners.

Added update: December 23

Lecavalier continues to lead the Rimouski Oceanic with his 26 goals, 62
points in 31 games. He is rapidly improving in every aspect of his game
as he prepares for the fast-approaching triumverent of critical events
for any 17 year old right now:the Top Prospects, the World Junior
Championship and the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Lecavalier’s defensive play
has been tremendous at a +3 rating and he’s upped his physical game to
notch an impressive 68 PIMs. He’s conitued to play the heroics, scoring
3 game winners and 8 power play goals. Vincent, though playing up to 6
games less than the rest of the scoring leaders, is only in 7th place
for the QMJHL scoring title. Perhaos the media, who is constantly
hounding him, day and night, should give the kid a rest, eh?

Another name making headlines is rookie Mike Ribeiro of the
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who is currently 3rd in scoring with 25 goals, 75
points in 37 games, including 4 game winners and 10 power play goals.
Keep an eye in him hockey fans.

Added update: December 11

Vincent Lecavalier has a chance to be an integral part of Team Canada’s
quest for a sixth straight gold medal at this year’s 1998 World Junior
Championship. He, along with 32 other candidates, were invited to
try-out for the 22 open roster spots. The 17-year-old will be up against
some stiff competition in Daniel Tkaczuk, Jason Ward, Boyd Devereaux and
Patrick Marleau but if he continues to play as he’s been, Lecavalier
will have no problem securing a spot on the team.

Added update: December 3

If you have seen the recent December 5th issue of The Hockey News, you
would have noticed something that we at Hockey 2000 have known for
months. THN reiterated the fact that Vincent Lecavalier is the top rated
NHL prospect and a potential franchise player.
While they were careful to remain skeptical, especially after the whole
Alex Daigle ordeal, THN made note of how Vincent COULD POSSIBLY be The
Next One. The Next One? Yes, as in the next Mario Lemieux. That’s the
hype currently going around in Canada after Lecavalier was in TO to
promote the CHL Top Prospects Game in February, with everyone asking the
question “How would Mario Lemieux look in a Maple Leafs’ uniform?”
Hmmm.. it does seem that the Leafs, at the rate they’re going, will be
the first to pick come June but is Vincent really good enough of a
player to be even half as good as the the great Le Magnifique? Tough to
believe but some scouts are saying yes. They’ve been giving him A’s in
almost every part of the game including hockey sense, finesse skills,
size and character. It appears that every the minor weaknesses of his
game, skating and strength, can be fixed.
All we can say is stay tuned to Hockey 2000 to watch the progress of
this young phenom to see if we could possibly have the player of the
next decade on our hands.

Added update: November 23

Somethings that are being said about Lecavalier around the hockey scene:

"Vincent will be the best player in the QMJHL since Mario Lemieux."
-Rimouski coach Roger Dejoie
Vincent's response:
"Comparisons aren't good at our age but it's flattering. But Mario
Lemieux was in the NHL and I'm still in (the QMJHL)."

"He has the potential to be a franchise player."
-NHL Director of Scouting Frank Bonello
Vincent's response:
"I still have lots of things to improve on. I have to get stronger
physically and more mature."

Added update: November 17

The French phenom has continued to be nothing short of impressive as he
makes an even bigger name for himself. The pressure of the draft seems
to have laid no weight upon Vincent Lecavalier’s shoulders as he
continues on his scoring spree throught the QMJHL. He also has not let
comparisons to Lemieux and Beliveau faze and he’s remained the modest
kid NHL teams are stumbling all over themselves to get to. “It’s
flattering [the comments], but I’ve still got a big year ahead of me.
I’m going to have to work hard and do me best,” Lecavalier said after a
show he put on during last night’s game in Hull. “I’ll just play my game
and do what I have to do.” If he does just that, Lecavalier should have
no problems. He’s still continuing to grow(currently listed as 6’3″,
185) and he skills are first-rate.(Ask any of the numerous defensemen
that he’s turned inside out or any of the goalies he made look like
they’re stuck in concrete!)

If any of you hockey fans still can’t understand how good this kid is,
ask Hull Olympique and Team Canada coach Claude Julien. He said Vincent
is better that Joe Thornton was at the same time last year.

Added update: October 8

Lecavalier was named QMJHL offensive player of the week yesterday for
his dazzling performances. In two games, he totaled an unbelievable 4
goals and 4 assists. Vincent is still leading all players in points with
9 goals and 11 assists. If he continues on such a scoring spree, he
could go down in Quebec history books as the most prominent scorer
instead of Mario Lemieux.

Added update: October 6

As Vincent tears through the QMJHL, next year’s draft is in the back of
his mind while tryouts for the national junior team draw nearer. “It’s
definately a goal of mine to play for Canada. No one’s told me I’ve been
invited to the camp. I’ll just have to keep working hard and see what
happens,” he said last week when asked about the team. Team Canada would
be making a terrible mistake if they excluded the young star even if
17-year-olds rarely are invited to tryout. Joe Thornton did last year
and Lecavalier has the same amount, if not more, NHL potential. Said
Oceanic teammate Derrick Glasgow of him:”Vincent is the bes 17-year-old
player I’ve ever seen.” Well said.

Added update: October 1

Vincent Lecavalier is doing nothing short of fantastic as he’s lighting
up the scoreboard all over the QMJHL, scoring a goal a game.
His 4-3-7-2 in 4 games is best on the Rimouski Oceanic but the team is
next to last in the Dilio division. Vincent has been turning defensemen
inside and out with his dipsey-dos, slick playmaking and tremendous
goalscoring. Watch out goalies!

Added update: August 29

The QMJHL’s exhibition season started last week seeing Quebec phenom
Vincent Lecavalier back with the Rimouski Oceanic. The budding young
superstar continues to earn comparisons to Mario Lemieux but is also
being compared to Jean Believeau because of his complete, dominate game
in both ends. Claude Julien, Lecavalier’s coach for Canada’s Under-18
team had this to say about him: “He was, without a doubt, the best
player in the [Tri-Nations] tournament. People were in awe. He’ll be a
superstar in the NHL one day. He’s like Mario Lemieux, except he works
hard in both ends.”

Added August 22nd–
17-year-old Vincent Lecavalier of the Rimouski Oceanic, already deemed
the next Le Magnifique, continues to make headlines wherever he plays.
In this case, it was at the recent Tri-Nations Under-18 Tournament in
Zdar, Czech Republic. Canada was the winner over the Czech Republic in
the final thanks to the heroics of Lecavalier and teammates Justin
Papineau and Brett DeCecco. Lecavalier scored his third goal in his
third game with 55 seconds left in a 3-2 victory for the red and white.
He completely dominated the tournament with his all-around highly
skilled game and his 3 goals, 6 points was second among scorers.

Lecavalier, coming off his rookie season in the QMJHL, continues to
impress scouts and should only make his case stronger for first overall
for the 1998 Entry Draft..

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