The rumor typically begins up north, usually in Montreal, then makes its way to Toronto.

Someone floats the idea in a newspaper. Then a radio show picks it up, and pretty soon it's all over the Internet. The rumor always includes these three words:

"Vinny'' and "Lecavalier'' and "trade.''

When the Lightning stumbles or Lecavalier struggles, it isn't long before someone at least wonders if Lecavalier should be traded.

Today I'll play the part of "someone.''

I'll even go a step further.

It's not only time to think about trading Lecavalier.

It's time to do it.

Shop him around, find interested takers, ask for the world, swallow hard and pull the trigger on the best deal you can get.

Look, no one around here wants to see Lecavalier traded. He's the captain, the face of the franchise and a staple in the community. When you're ranking the best athletes in Tampa Bay sports history, he's near the top. When you're ranking the best people in Tampa Bay history, he might be at the top.

He has given everything he has to this organization on and off the ice. His work ethic, dedication and competitiveness have never been in question. Even in the worst of times, Lecavalier has never shown the desire to abandon this ship. He could have left here a couple of times but always showed loyalty to his adopted hometown. The Tampa Bay area is a better place because of him.

And just to be clear, this in no way suggests Lecavalier is to blame for the Lightning's troubles.