Lecavalier played two years of junior hockey for the Rimouski Océanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). During his tenure, he quickly established himself as one of the NHL’s top prospects. In his first season with the Océanic, he won the Michel Bergeron Trophy as the QMJHL’s top rookie forward.
Tampa Bay Lightning
On March 1, 2000, following his sophomore season, he was named captain, becoming the youngest captain in NHL history at 19 years and 314 days (since surpassed by Sidney Crosby). Previously, Steve Yzerman had held that honour, having been named captain of the Detroit Red Wings at 21 years, 5 months.
Lecavalier however never fulfilled expectations and was later stripped of the captaincy before the 2001–02 NHL season when Lightning management decided he was too young even as a high calibre player. Around that time, he clashed frequently with head coach John Tortorella. Tortorella demanded more accountability from his players, and showed this by stripping Lecavalier of the team captaincy after he missed the start of 2001–02 because of contract negotiations.
Tortorella has since noted that Lecavalier has matured and become a less selfish player since losing the team captaincy. During the 2003–04 NHL season, while Martin St. Louis led in regular season scoring and Brad Richards led in the playoffs, Lecavalier played a key role in the team’s Stanley Cup victory, assisting on the Cup-clinching goal. He was named MVP of the Canadian National Team in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, which Canada won.
During the lockout which canceled the 2004–05 NHL season, Lecavalier, along with Lightning teammates Nikolai Khabibulin and Brad Richards, played for Ak Bars Kazan in the Russian Superleague. Lecavalier scored 16 points as Kazan finished 4th in the league and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Lecavalier broke the all-time Tampa Bay Lightning record for most points in a season by scoring his 95th point on March 16, 2007 against the Buffalo Sabres. The record was previously held by Martin St. Louis, who had 94 points during the 2003–04 NHL season.
On March 30, 2007, in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Lecavalier became the first Lightning player to record 50 goals in a season. He finished the season with 52 goals, edging Ottawa‘s Dany Heatley, who scored 50 goals, to earn the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer for the 2006–07 season.
During the 2007–08 NHL season, Lecavalier recorded 8 straight multipoint games, being the first to do so since Jaromír Jágr in 1996. The scoring streak put him first in the NHL scoring race, until he was surpassed by Ottawa Senators‘ captain, Daniel Alfredsson, who scored 7 points in the final game before the All-Star break. He was named captain of the Eastern Conference at the 2008 NHL All Star Game.
In the 2007–08 offseason, Lecavalier underwent shoulder surgery to repair an infraction from taking a hit against Matt Cooke of the Washington Capitals. He is scheduled to undergo another surgery on his left wrist later in the summer.
On July 12, 2008, Lecavalier agreed to an eleven-year, $85 million contract extension with the Lightning. His new contract begins after the 2008–09 season, and runs through the 2019–20 season, which may likely see the All-Star forward end his career with the Lightning.
Before the start of the 2008–09 NHL season, he was re-named captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning on September 18, 2008.
In mid January 2009, rumors were swirling around a possible trade which would send Lecavalier to the Montreal Canadiens, his hometown, but Brian Lawton later stated that Lecavalier would rather stay in Tampa Bay for the rest of his career. Lecavalier confirmed in his own words his preference of playing in Tampa Bay over his native Montreal. On January 24, at the NHL’s superskills competition, Lecavalier received a standing ovation from the Montreal crowd that lasted for 30 seconds when he was being introduced.
Lecavalier underwent season-ending wrist surgery on April 3, 2009.
Attended Thorndale Elementary in Pierrefonds and then he went to John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire, Quebec for two years (1992–1993) before transferring to Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Canada. Has been best friends with ex-Lightning center Brad Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 as Most Valuable Player of the NHL Playoffs, since the age of 14, when they met at Notre Dame, where they were roommates and became best friends. Since then they have gone on to being teammates with the Rimouski Océanic and also with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lecavalier currently resides in Tampa’s Davis Island. He is featured in The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story. Lecavalier portrayed legendary Montréal Canadiens center, Jean Béliveau. He wears number 4 to honour Béliveau and legendary Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr.
In October 2007, Lecavalier pledged $3 million to a new All Children’s Hospital facility under construction in St. Petersburg, Florida. The facility will be named the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in his honor.