LOS ANGELES – Similar to the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Vincent Lecavalier is on his farewell tour, and has stopped for a long layover in Los Angeles.
The former first round draft pick was traded by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Kings on Wednesday with defenseman Luke Schenn in exchange for rookie center Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Lecavalier played most of his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he was called the "Michael Jordan of Hockey" and helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004.
In 2013, he signed with Philadelphia but he saw his minutes diminish and rarely saw the ice in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Despite the lack of playing time, Lecavalier says he's rejuvenated to get a chance in Los Angeles and is excited for the opportunity to play for another Stanley Cup.
"I haven't played in a while, but I've been practicing hard and I'm ready to go," Lecavalier said minutes before his LA Kings debut. "Short shifts is the key."
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was excited for the opportunity to add somebody of Lecavalier's pedigree to the roster and was looking to replace injured defenseman Matt Greene, which he can now do with Schenn.
"At this stage of his career, it's all about getting one last chance to win it all," Lombardi said of Lecavalier. "I think he's hungry. Given his mindset and fit on this team, I think it's a great fit for his role."
Lecavalier told Lombardi that he's planning on retiring at the end of the season. That's great news for the Kings who won't have to pay the remaining two years of his five-year, $22.5 million contract.
"It's something I was planning on doing and something I'm going to do," Lecavalier said about retirement. "I'm happy to be a part of a team where I get a chance to play and where I can play a certain role. To have a chance to win another Stanley Cup would be great."
Lecavalier and Schenn will take the ice tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Kings look to extend their 10 point lead in the Pacific Division. For Lecavalier, it's a fresh start for the 35-year-old veteran.
"It feels like the first day of school. It's exciting."