Star centre Vincent Lecavalier will ask the Tampa Bay Lightning to trade him in the summer, and a possible destination could be Montreal, according to veteran journalist Al Strachan.
Lecavalier, who ranks second in NHL scoring with 76 points this year, has spent nine seasons with the Lightning and won a Stanley Cup in 2004.
A first overall pick in the 1998 draft, the Quebec native has been linked to trade talks before, particularly a deal involving a possible move to play with the Canadiens.
"Vincent Lecavalier figures he's put enough time in Tampa and wants to go to a bigger market," Strachan said on Hockey Night in Canada's Hotstove segment.
"This summer he's going ask to be traded. He's done this before, but it didn't work last time. He wants to go to a bigger market. It doesn't necessarily have to be a Stanley Cup winner, but L.A., New York or of course, Montreal."
Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards are already locked up to big contracts that take up roughly $20 million US of Tampa Bay's salary cap. This could force general manager Jay Feaster into a tough decision since defenceman Dan Boyle would also like to re-sign with the Lightning.
Should Feaster sign Boyle, who would command big money, he may have no option but to trade one of his other top players.
However, Canadian Press columnist Pierre LeBrun spoke with Feaster and doesn't think Lecavalier will be the one dealt.
"He does not want to trade Vincent Lecavalier," LeBrun told Hotstove. "He was very adamant about that, especially with new ownership on board. They do not want to lose this guy.
"They are going to trade one of the big three, but I don't think it's Lecavalier."