WWYDW: Milan Lucic is headed to market

It’s now official. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, both
Milan Lucic and Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi have confirmed
that the hulking left wing will be heading to free agency

In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we
ask how interested the Oilers should be, and what impact a potential Lucic
signing would have on the roster.

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The Contract


Lucic is coming off a three-year deal
with a $6.0 million cap hit
. The final year of that deal saw him make $6.5
million in actual dollars. As a general rule, marquee players in their late 20’s
don’t take big paycuts in unrestricted free agency, so it’s probably safe to
assume that Lucic at a minimum will be looking for $6.0 million per year in
terms of annual value and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he expected to earn
more than $6.5 million in real dollars next season.

His decision to leave the Kings tends to confirm that. Los
Angeles is coming off a tough couple of years but is a legitimate contender and
play in lovely California. The one thing the Kings don’t have is an abundance
of cap space with which to pay Lucic.

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It also seems fair to assume that Lucic will be looking for
term. He’s 28 years old now; if he signs a four-year deal he’ll be 32 and there’s
a risk that his numbers will have fallen off at that point. This is the first
time he’s gone to free agency and the best chance he’s ever likely to have to
cash-in on his talent.

My guess is that there are general managers out there
willing to offer him $6.0 million per year over seven years. I may be mistaken
on that, but if he comes in much lower in terms of either money or term I would
be surprised.

The Depth Chart


The addition of Lucic would unbalance the Oilers roster and
in all likelihood necessitate the trade of a left wing. In addition to Lucic, Edmonton would have the
on the left side:

  • Taylor Hall, $6.0 million AAV through 2020.
  • Benoit Pouliot, $4.0 million AAV through 2019.
  • Matt Hendricks, $1.85 million AAV through 2017.
  • Patrick Maroon, $1.5 million AAV through 2018.

Maroon and Hendricks aren’t dirt-cheap, but they’re cheap
enough that the Oilers wouldn’t need to worry about them. Spending $16.0
million on left wings may be problematic, however, particularly given the club’s
need on the right side both up front and defensively.

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There are a few options available:

Just keep all three
The upside is obvious: Left wing would be a real strength for the
Oilers and Todd McLellan would be all but forced to take a three scoring lines
approach. The downside is that more than 20 percent of the cap is being spent
at left wing for at least three seasons. I suppose it’s possible that someone could switch to the right side, though history suggests that putting a winger on his off-side won’t much help Edmonton in its quest to get better at breaking out of the defensive zone. 

Trade Benoit Pouliot.
Dangling Pouliot, perhaps as part of a package for a right-side defenceman,
is the most obvious play in the aftermath of a Lucic signing. The upside is
that Edmonton would experience no decline in terms of quality at left wing, and
in exchange for paying Lucic’s salary would then have another player to trade.
The downside is that Pouliot simply isn’t valued by NHL general managers the
way he is by the analytics community; I’m skeptical that the return would be
all that good.

Trade Taylor Hall. The
return on Hall would (presumably) be fantastic, so the upside of such a deal is
that Edmonton could address need elsewhere on the roster. The downside is that
they would then no longer have Hall, and he’s a vastly superior player to
either Lucic or Pouliot.


So, what would you do? Should the Oilers sign Lucic, and if
so how then should they proceed on left wing? 

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  • toprightcorner

    I am not gonna discuss trade options if Lucic is signed, just what I wouls do to sign him.

    The talk has been that Lucic will drastically decline in 4 years because of the style he plays and I tend to agree, but a 4-5 year deal won’t get you Lucic unless you pay him $6.5 – $7 mill a year. Lucic will most likely be looking at total contract dollar, not necessarily average annual salary or term. This is his chance to cash in and as has been seen by Clowe, Horton and Hartnell, he won’t be worth much after age 32. If the Oilers want him you have to be smart in how you lay out the offer.

    1 things to think about when structuring an offer:

    1) There will always be teams that have tons of cap space and some may have trouble reaching the floor if/when the cap hits $85 mill (Vegas will cause a cap increase)

    Keeping that in mind and also the fact that at least 10 teams will be very interested in Lucic, this is how I would structure the deal to get Lucic.

    7 year contract for $44 million (6.28 cap hit), full NMC for first 3 years, 10 team trade list next 2 years, no trade restrictions final 2 years.

    $10.0, $8.5, $7.5, $6.5, $4.5, $3.5 $3.5

    – Actual dollars is not the issue for the Oilers, cap space is.

    – It is also difficult to trade a player at the end of his career with a big cap hit unless his actual salary is significantly below his actual cap.

    – There will always be an Arizona or Carolina who will scoop those high cap, low salary players.

    – After 4 years when Lucic’s production and value drops, a salary of $2.5 mill less than the cap should be tradeable

    – an offer of 5 years with a cap hit of $7.5 is still only $37.5 mill and it would be a risk for Lucic to think he could sign a contract for $3 mill a year at that age.

  • Lucic simply doesn’t address the oilers need. They have 1st and 2nd line left wingers that can score. They’ve got 3rd and 4th line wingers with grit. Lucic will be overpaid on a bad contract. There’s no need to sign him in Edmonton.

  • OilCan2

    Milan WILL get term & $ from someone. Not PC I hope.

    Pouliot and Yak are both on speed dial to improve the squad in a D man deal. You can add almost anyone bottom six to that list too.

    I am thrilled to be an Oiler’s fan in the 2nd year of Connor. He should be the first reason to draft and develop (see the Drake signing). PC will also have some chances to fleece a sneaky deal. Maybe even this Friday,….

  • Ol_OneNut

    What a day for the NHL!

    First, they award a future failed franchise to Vegas.

    Then, they make a mockery of their own awards.

    On a side note, there will soon be 23 more fourth liners in the league. Yay!

    What happened to you NHL, you used to be cool.

  • fisherprice

    I’ve gone on this topic before, but Lucic will be too expensive and too long term for my liking. He’s earned the right to test the market and have someone overpay him (like all good UFA’s) but considering he’s already declining and that he’s probably looking for something like $6.5-7 million AAV over 6 years it just doesn’t seem like a good fit.

    I know we are all tired of looking to the future in Oilers land, but the notion that the Oilers will become a contender within McDavid’s ELC is a complete pipe dream. I’d be completely on board with an overpriced Lucic for 2-3 years, but the fact is whatever contract he signs is going to drag a team into salary cap hell by it’s inevitable 4th-6th seasons when they’re paying the guy $7 million for 45 point seasons. Considering that’s the likely timeline for the Oilers to be a good playoff team, I just don’t like the idea of Lucic on the Oilers.

    As for anyone who honestly thinks Lucic is better than Hall, I don’t even know what to say to that kind of idiocy.

  • Justino

    As tempting as Lucic is were fine for LW. If he was available on a 5 year/5mil basis I’d totally trade pouliot but that isn’t what he wants. A team that desperately needs a LW will sign him for crazy money and term but the bright side is we have Maroon for a heck of alot cheaper and he’s already proven he can get points with McDavid. give the guy a year to show he can be just as much of an impact player.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Maroon, Hendricks, Kassian and potentially Lucic on the same team? I could live with that. The last time I remember the Oilers being that physical on the wing was 15-16 years ago when we had Smyth, Guerin, Moreau, Grier and Laraque. That was a fun team to watch.

    It sure is tempting…

  • Harry2

    Oilers fans just don’t want nice things. Judging by the comments on here we should keep our current roster that just finished 29th instead of signing proven winners with grit and toughness to burn.

    People like to point out that Lucic is on the decline but they forget the fact that he played on the LA Kings a perennial low scoring defensive team.

    Lucic instantly changes the attitude of this team and the teams that come into Rogers Arena to play the Oil. I’m liking what I’m seeing from Chiarelli. Blend of speed/skill and heaviness/toughness. Lucic, Nurse, Maroon….McD, LD, Ebs. One of RNH (I would build a trade around RNH and the 4th with STL for either Pietrangelo or Shattenkirk) or Hall ( I would build a trade based on a return of Hamonic and Pullock + from NYI) will be traded for a dman. PC make it so!

  • JBear

    Can’t pay Lucic more than $6M but I think some teams will be offering up to $7M. If PC signs Lucic you’ll have to say bye to both Hall and Pouliot. To much money tied up on the forwards when we’re trying to upgrade the D.

  • @Hallsy4

    If Lucic comes here Hall and Pouliot are expendable. Would suck to lose hall but we could get a Damn good D man for him, and our team would be better. I hope hall stays and ebs goes, but I am sick of cheering for a 29th place team. I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep status qou

  • Armchair genius

    Would Lucic benefit the Oilers? Of course! Does it make sense? Who knows!? I think the Oilers need to address, obviously the backend, but also the 3rd and 4th lines to wear teams down and allow our top end talent to flourish from wore down teams. That is what will make this team a contender. IMHO

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Getting Lucic would “push” other players down to their proper spots, imo.

    Having the left side look like this:





    Instead of this:





    If injuries occur everyone on the left side can then slide up easier with Lucic in the line up, than without.

  • madjam

    Hartnell(LW) for 3 years and Puljujarvi(RW) in , for our NBR.4 pick . Fixed both sides in one movement at a much better/cheaper price . Now to use Yak and Pouliot in whole or in part to get a decent RDefenseman or two .

  • Speed Junky

    Hall is highest point producer.

    Ebs is 30 goal man with 97

    Nuge is most valuable trade bait.

    97 and Leon and Dubois is deep cheap centers

    best 1 , 2 , 3 punch for under 10 million. ya. dam cap space

  • Wintoon

    Let the Canucks acquire Lucic and pay his hefty salary. Meanwhile, the Oilers can use part of the money they might have paid to Lucic and acquire a player like Okposo to play right wing.

    Please Oilers do not acquire Lucic. He is a potential money pit.

  • ceeque84



    Nuge,Yak,4th= PK
    Pouliot,reinheart,draft pick= Shattenkirk
    Korpi,letestu,fayne= bag of pucks? Backup goalie?