Is Milan Lucic worth it?

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Free agency begins at 10 a.m MDT tomorrow morning, and the first deal
will likely be announced before 10:15 a.m. Milan Lucic is one of the
most talked about free agents. He’s a unique player. He is a proven
top-six forward with a mean streak and a physical presence. 

My main question is can Lucic be as effective between 2016-2019 as he was between 2010-2014? He
had three seasons with 24, 26 and 30 goals and 59, 61 and 62 points in that four year window. He
will need to produce similar numbers if he going to be live up to the
rumoured $6 million/year salary he will receive in free agency.

Is he worth it?

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I’d be skeptical, not because of his ability or skill, but due to how
much the speed of the game continues increasing every year. Lucic isn’t a
bad skater, but he’s not known as speedster. He is a force along the
boards and in traffic. He wins a lot of battles, and he’s produced
before without being one of the fastest players on the ice. But with such an emphasis on pressuring the puck all over the ice, does his game translate to the quicker pace?

I wonder how much more effective Lucic will be moving forward compared to Patrick Maroon? 

If we go on track record alone it is an easy answer.

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Maroon’s
career high is 12 goals and 34 points. He had an incredible run with
Connor McDavid after the trade deadline last season, producing eight
goals and 14 points in 16 games. It was the most productive stretch of
his career. 

He scored 26 goals and 79 points in his first 204 NHL games before arriving in Edmonton.

Lucic has four 20+ goals seasons and he’s produced 300 more points than Maroon while playing 420 more NHL games. The numbers would suggest I’m asking an idiotic question.

Maybe I am, or does Maroon have more to give and will Lucic have a hard time producing like he has and will be be worth four times the money? Maroon has a $1.5 million cap hit for the next two seasons with the Oilers.

He’s just as big as Lucic. He doesn’t hit as often, but like Lucic he is one of the toughest players in the league. He will fight anyone and he can handle himself just like Lucic.

Maroon has proven he can produce at other levels.

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In his only season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, he scored 35-55-90 in 64 games. He was 19 years old and led the Knights in scoring. Jadran Beljo and Akim Aliu were second and third in scoring with 62 and 61 points. Maroon was their go-to guy.

He’s put up solid numbers in the AHL as well.

In 2008/2009 he scored 23-31-54 in 80 games as a rookie.

In 2009/2010 he potted 11-33-44 in 67 games.

In 2010/2011 he tallied 26-30-56 in 66 games.

In 2011/2012 he scored 32-42-74 in 75 games.

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In his final season in the AHL he scored 26-24-50 in 64 games before being recalled to the Ducks.

His PPG each year was 0.67, 0.65, 0.84, 0.99 and 0.78. He was third, fourth, second, first and first in team scoring in his five AHL campaigns. He also had 62, 125, 98, 120 and 139 penalty minutes respectively over the five seasons.

I know producing in the NHL is much different than in the AHL. Lucic has proven he can do, while Maroon would need to blossom under the guise of a late bloomer.

The safe bet suggests Lucic will produce better, but if Maroon could produce 45 points playing with Connor McDavid and bring the same nastiness as Lucic, is it wise to pay Lucic $6 million/year for six seasons?

No doubt it would be a risk expecting Maroon to produce 45 points, when his career his is 34, but is that risk equal to paying Lucic $36 million over six years?

With the game showing no signs of slowing down, is it wise to sign a big man, who isn’t fleet of foot to a long-term deal?

I think the biggest risk in free agency is overpaying a winger.

Marian Hossa was a great signing by the Blackhawks seven seasons ago, but he also is one of the best skaters in the game and he’d had seven 31+ goals seasons before they signed him. Lucic isn’t as good as Hossa.

The Wild signed Zach Parise to a 13-year deal worth $7.58 million/season in 2012. Parise was 27, had scored 31+ goals five times and 69, 82 and 94 points. He tallied 38 points (in 48 games, prorated to 64 points in full season) during the lockout shortened season and the past three years he’s tallied 56, 62 and 53 points. He has averaged 57 points/year the past three seasons and the Wild have him on the books for nine more years.

I’d rather overpay for a quality D-man or centre, than a winger, unless they are elite like Hossa. I’d also rather overpay for a proven player like Lucic compared to overpay C and B level players who the Oilers have thrown money at haphazardly in previous years. So I understand those who are willing to take the risk of Lucic potentially falling off in the later years of the contract.

Parise is considered a very good winger, but he hasn’t come close to living up to his contract.

As the clock ticks down to free agency, Peter Chiarelli needs to recognize the odds Lucic lives up to his contract are very low. He is a dominating presence. He can ride shotgun with McDavid, which is a much more effective way of protecting a player (if you believe that is still necessary) than having a tough guy on your fourth line.

But Maroon can also protect McDavid, and he likely could produce 40-45 points at 1/4 of the price.

I’m sure Chiarelli has weighed all the options. He wants to change the identity of the team, and he needs them to improve now. He can’t worry about four or five years down the road, but at what cost?

It won’t be difficult for the Oilers to improve. They’ve been a tire fire for a decade. Making the playoffs would have Oilersnation going crazy, and maybe that would trump the risk of signing Lucic long-term.

I’d be cautious, because history has proven that overpaying players at 28 years and older is often a losing bet for the future.

Would you pay Lucic six million over six years, or more if that is what it takes to sign him?

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • What will Larsson bring to the Oilers
  • Hall trade: It is based on Hope
  • Chiarelli needs to be cautious
  • Monday Musings: Chiarelli the grinder, draft age and more
  • Draft Day Two: Acquiring a D-man still alive
  • Draft rumblings and the Top-60
  • Dreams will be made this weekend
  • Live in Buffalo: Vegas, trades, the draft and be cautious of Lucic


      • Randaman

        I thought we all realized that insanity is the new reality. I don’t care what it cost or what the term is. He’s an absolute beast and we need him.

        Maroon is great but lacks that real nasty/mean streak. Kassian is more of an agitator that fights only when absolutely necessary (which I’m fine with).

        We need to have that fear element when it comes to screwing with #97, #14, #93, etc.

        I sign him all day long just to make sure it’s done.

          • crabman

            Like I said in an earlier post, as long as it doesn’t have a no move clause and it’s somewhat front loaded the term won’t be an issue. Floor teams that are more worried about actual dollars are always taking on crappy cap hits for cheap actual dollar player. If Pronger, Horton and Datsyuk can be traded when never going to play again to help cap floor teams I’m sure a 6M Lucic making 3M real dollars can be traded year 5 or 6. Today he make this team better. Sign the man.

      • Turd Furgeson

        Brace yourself bc lucic is gonna get 6.5 for 7 years from the oil. Its already on the books. This is the exact reason he was fired in boston. Bad trade with weak return fir seguin followed by piss poor cap management.

        Fire him now before he does anymore damage

    • Whether we like it or not, this is the road the Oilers are going down. I would be willing to bet it’s a 6×6.5 mil deal or a 5×7 mil deal. Yes, I hate it. Hate that we traded Hall for an unproven player, and hate that our fate rests in the hands of a GM that has no concept of the plight of Oilers fans.
      But, a part of me is willing to trust his vision and if it brings us success, all will be forgotten.

      • Suzycue123

        Dude relax. Change can be good bro! It’s like watching your parents fight all the time when they’re old and u just wished they would “change” things to make the marriage work.

        Changing the fabric / culture of this team is much needed.

      • Turd Furgeson

        What you arecdescribing is perpetual rebuild…. Wait thats exactly whats happening. I have no idead how so nany well pid people can get it wrong. Draft good players keep good players…. Simple right?

    • Suzycue123

      Honestly no one can really predict the future only speculation…

      I’m totally all in for lucic if he helps this team make the PLAYOFFS for the first time in over TEN friggin years!!! And believe me we need a “lucic” to change the fabric/culture of this oilers team.

      It’s time to change things up and go bump and grind like lucic can.

      P.s. Please can we have a post with no “hall” comments now?!

        • Jason Gregor

          Bingo. Good players help you win. Being a tight-knit room won’t make you go from a D team to anything more than maybe a C-.

          Chiarelli has made some good moves, been extremely lucky winning McDavid lottery and having Puljujarvi fall in his lap.

          I can see reasoning of Larsson deal since RD was a major hole, but overpaying for Lucic now suggests importance to just get to playoffs over being a true Cup contender. We’ll see how it plays out. I understand those who want to risk it because they are sick of watching a losing team.

    • Calling Nurse McNuge!!!

      As long as Lucic can instill half the attitude, grit and intensity as he brings into a team mostly void of those emotions, I say hell yeah. He will teach these young kids how to win and even when he isn’t putting up as many points, his presence will still be worth having.

      • R U Kidding Me!

        THIS.

        I’m getting tired of people only talking about points when it comes to Lucic. He brings other dimentions to the game not to mention having him will open up the ice a little more for our skilled forwards.

        And Gregor, for a player you say is such a bad bet to sign there sure are a lot of teams showing interest. I think any of them would give him a 6 year deal.

        Can’t wait for the announcement tomorrow that the Oil prevailed and locked him up.

        • I am Batman

          This too.

          Everyone who is concerned about the money:

          1) it’s not your money.

          2) Milan Lucic is going to get paid. Would you rather have him beside McDavid in Oilers colours or have him in flames or Canucks colours. Crashing McDavid into the boards?????

          .. Think people! You think the shames or the cansucks are not salivating to get him?

        • Jason Gregor

          There were four teams interested. Not 20.

          I’m sure they would give him the deal, that doesn’t mean it is the right deal. UFA has historically proven you have more BAD deals than good.

          I understand the need to improve. It’s being terrible covering a losing team for a decade.

          Signing Lucic will help for the next two years, no question. He’s a good player, but building on the wings is not the way to build a championship team. I’d look at signing a D, or signing a stop-gap, less big-name player to more favourable contract to fill in.

          I’d rather add Jamie McGinn. He had 22 goals last year to Lucic’s 20. He isn’t the big-name and he isn’t as good, but you likely can sign him to a shorter term deal and $4 million.

          McGinn can be serviceable.

          In the last four years Lucic has played 288 games and scored 69 goals. 0.24 goals per game.

          In same four years McGinn has played 229 games and scored 56 goals. That is 0.24 goals per game.

          McGinn had one injury that cost him 60 games in 2015. Other three years he’s played exact same amount of games as Lucic.

          I’d go with less big-name player, because Oilers have McDavid to lead team offensively. I just don’t see need to pay an older winger $6 million plus.

          • CBK

            So you’d rather overpay McGinn whose career high in pts was 39 and he is only a year younger than Lucic?

            I get where you’re coming from Gregor, the term and dollar figure for Lucic might be an anchor in 4 years but it might not also. You even pointed out yourself that some players stay productive like Shane Doan well into their 30s

            The game is changing but Lucic is no slouch here. Jagr himself said if the game was all about speed he would have been out of the NHL years ago. I’m not suggesting in any way that Lucic is the next Jagr but I’m also not suggesting that he isn’t capable of adapting his game to stay productive in the NHL.

            Hall is gone and replacing him with a McGinn is not a risk I wanna take.

            The game is also changing in the playoffs however look at who the Sharks had to go through to get to the Finals. LA, Nashville, and St. Louis. All teams with a mixture of size, speed and skill.

            The Oilers have skill but they’re going to need some size to grind through the playoffs. If and when they get there.

            • Jason Gregor

              Fair point, but I never said overpay McGinn. At $3.5 mill for a few years no real risk, but also not potential reward as Lucic. I get that.

              Oilers are big now though. Maroon, Kassian, Pouliot, Drai, Nurse, Klebom, Larsson are all big, heavy and skilled.

            • Kurt

              McGinn is the same age as Lucic and has a genetic back problem that has bugged him his whole career. He has never played a full season. Stop pretending you’re more intelligent than Chiarelli. Be better.

          • BubbaZanetti

            Jamie McGinn over Milan Lucic…..right ?

            I though the goal here is to improve the team and start winning hockey games ?

            I’m gonna guess we get to look forward to you nit-picking every move Lucic does or doesn’t do this season ?

            I guess time will tell ?

            For myself, I take Lucic all day long, call me crazy.

    • RJ

      2011 Lucic? Pay that man.

      Unfortunately, the Oil will end up with 2016 Lucic who shows up every 3-4 games.

      Chiarelli is better at player evaluation than MacT, but so is almost everyone posting here.

    • Spydyr

      Any term longer than four years is risky and a term longer than five is a mistake.

      So I fully expect the “Oilers Braintrust” to offer the maximum term of seven years.

      • Dreadguy

        Did any of you see the Rexall Place closing ceremony in it’s entirety? Those who did, please remind everyone about what one of the 80s dynasty players said about the team back then (on live TV… I can’t remember who it was because it is Canada Day eve and I’ve had a few beers). Oh, and By the way, I was there for those great years, I even saw the allstar game when it was at Northlands. The quote was something like:

        “Every guy on the team had a role and knew his role, every role was important and we treated every role as equal because that is what it takes to win the Stanley Cup” (and then something about going to war together and family…) That is not verbatim, but it is definitely close to the sentiment of what what said. This is my dream for the Oilers going forward, albeit a naive one.

      • Dreadguy

        Did any of you see the Rexall Place closing ceremony in it’s entirety? Those who did, please remind everyone about what one of the 80s dynasty players said about the team back then (on live TV… I can’t remember who it was because it is Canada Day eve and I’ve had a few beers). It was something like:

        “Every guy on the team had a role and knew his role, every role was important and we treated every role as equal because that is what it takes to win the Stanley Cup” (and then something about going to war together and family…) That is not verbatim, but it is definitely close to the sentiment of what what said. This is my dream for the Oilers going forward, albeit a naive one.

    • Total Points

      PC wants to make the Oilers tougher. Lucic fits that.

      Would not surprise me to see Eberle and RNH shipped out due to their soft play. However, they are not easily tradeable due to their 6M.

      PC would like Backes instead of RNH and Ladd instead of Eberle.

      It may happen

      • Snelson8300

        Beauty video, thanks! I couldn’t agree more, not that he was referring to team toughness but will never forget Lundquist from NY holding back the laughter when questioned about how easy it was to play against the Oilers. Like many have commented already, maybe we don’t like to lose our hallsy, but we have to do something different because what we’re doing already ain’t working. I’m sick and tired of the losing, I fully support the dismantling and rebuild in Chiarelli’s mould just to see what happens, it really can’t get any worse. And besides, McDavid!

    • 24% body fat

      same situation applies to Eberle and Yak,

      Yak at 2.5M producing 45 – 60 points next to Mcdavid (needs to be proven) and Eberle traded for a quality D

      or

      Eberle at 6M producing 60 -70 points proven and trading yak for a 3rd round pick

    • 24% body fat

      In a cap league its about the best contracts not the best players. Crosby at 8.7M and Stamkos at 8.5 etc are still the best contracts because of what they bring.

      Lucic at 6+ ouch

    • OilBlood

      Lucic isn’t the fastest skater in the NHL but he’s also not gazdic. He’s got above average NHL speed and that combined with his size trumps being so fast he ends up on his arse at least once a shift like a former elite LW we once had.

      Halls gone move on and live with Lucic as his replacement.

      I know your upset Gregs but stop trying to make everyone hate Lucic before he’s even signed just out of spite for Hall getting traded.

      If Lucic gets 6 X 6 he will be worth every penny for the heart, attitude and different dimension he would be replacing that formerly occupied that position. The points are an extra bonus as far as I’m concerned.

      This team is severely lacking what he brings.

      • hags437

        Exactly right. Hall got traded. Everyone is angry. Get over it. Lucic is sorely needed here. Eberle Nuge Hall bring zero toughness and I am so sick and tired of being pushed around. It’s free agency peeps..everyone gets overpaid! There’s bad contracts all around every year. I get the the sense that no matter what happens from here on in, PC will be public enemy #1. I’ll bet if they win a Cup in 3 years people will be sad for Hall cuz he didn’t get a chance to be a part of it. Move on…Larsson + Lucic is better than Taylor Hall. Anyone who thinks otherwise is plain wrong.

      • Jason Gregor

        You wanting to connect this to Hall is laughable. I wrote about Lucic when Hall was here. Read it here to refresh your memory

        It is not wise to overpay wingers in free agency, unless they are elite like Hossa.

        And Oilers are now trying to be big team, while rest of division gets smaller and faster.

        Sharks won’t be big team in two years. Kings have changed style as well.

        Lucic would have been great on team two years ago. He could be good for two, but Oilers have enough skilled size now with Drai, Maroon, Puljujarvi and even McDavid is bigger already than RNH. They have speed and game is going faster.

        Big is great, if they can skate like Nurse, Puljujarvi, Drai, Klefbom and Larsson.

        I love Lucic as a player, but paying him that much money for that long at this stage of his career is a losing bet.

        • OilBlood

          Me wanting to connect your arguments about hall to Lucic is laughable? Every time you mention Lucic hall is right there in the next sentence.

          Did you know what your wrote in that article? Yes Hall was still here but that was exactly when everyone started talking about the possibility of Hall being traded because it looked like Lucic signing with us was a real possibility.

          Sorry but I am an oilers fan not a Taylor hall fan. I heard this earlier from Yukon and it is 100% true.

          From the moment Hall got traded he meant nothing to me and I became a fan of Adam Larsson.

          And when Lucic signs I will be a fan of Milan Lucic and will not continue to rant about how we would have been better off with Hall.

          Hall is gone. It’s over.

          I don’t care what the western conference could potentially look like in 2 years because the Penguins won the cup. I care about what it is now and we have been behind long enough.

          Sorry I’m not down for waiting another 2 years for the rest of the conference to “possibly” regress to our level.

    • CDNinATL

      You know what f’d up?? Lucic is our best option after over paying for Larsson.

      I could live with the Hall trade but seriously, not even a decent draft pick coming back to top it off?? And yes, I’m still bitter about the trade….

    • Hockey123

      4 years would be perfect at 6mill. But Lucic will want more term and probably money, don’t know how many good years he has , he plays a heavy game.and is a big man. Anything over 4 he will be taking money away from signing perhaps Nurse, Draisaitl, puljujärvi, etc…

    • 99 to 97

      Here’s some quick math. Without Gretzky there would not have been a 60-goal Kurri, a 139-point Coffey, an 88 point Mike Krushelniski, Messier wouldn’t have turned into the dynamo he became due to lining up against 99 every practice, and so on and so on. HOWEVER, there would have been no Gretzky playing full season after full season without Dave Semenko (and later Dave Brown, Marty McSorley, Don Jackson, Etc) knocking out anyone who sneezed within 3 feet of 99. McDavid may end up turning a bunch of otherwise good players into legendary players IF he is able to stay healthy. With the extinction of the Semenko-type position, Lucic MAY be the best option. If he pots 60 points while policing Mcdavid that’s just a bonus.

    • OilCan2

      Lucic at 6 x $6M is going to look like a boat anchor when guys like Davidson, Nurse, Puljujarvi, Draisaitl, McDavid etc come up for their first big contract.

    • Kevwan

      I’d be worried about the term being talked about but….

      I understand that Lucic is the type of player this city loves. I wouldn’t but I see why Chia would.

      Has anyone thought about having extra cap space available next June? The expansion draft is June 20 and players contracts don’t expire until July 1st.
      I expect a lot of movement between the seasons end and that draft. A little shopping money might be handy. It might not matter either.

    • Speed Junky

      Lucic better sign. Hall is gone.

      Nuge for Barrie??

      Barrie is a 40 pts guy.

      problem is expansion draft. or is it??

      Kelfbom. Larrson. sek?? Barrie??

      protect 3. sek has no movement clause

    • kgo

      The same people screaming about selling hall at a discount and potentially acquiring Lucic (or other big ticket FA’s) at a premium are the ones who (rightfully) say we cannot waste Mcdavid’s ELC. I’m sensing some hypocrisy from their arguments in that they want Chiarelli to keep his powder dry whilst simultaneously acquire top paring D, keep our Centre depth, and balance the salary cap.

      • JimmyV1965

        That’s total BS. I don’t have a problem trading Hall. I do have a problem not getting fair value. I’ve argued many times on this site that it’s okay to lose s trade if it improvs the team. BUT you don’t let that happen for an elite player like Hall. It has much less impact if you lose a trade with Ebs or RNH of Drai etc.

    • Randaman

      Honestly, I think this is a moot point because I think it gets done tomorrow and we will learn to love Lucic just we all loved Hall or love Nuge and so on.

      The cup is the goal, right?

    • @Hallsy4

      I’d be pissed if I was hall too. New rink, him and Connor looking like things were gonna turn around finally, after Hall put up with so much in his time here. He’s one guy I actually feel for a bit, cause he gave everything he had. Nuge and Ebs I wouldn’t as they don’t seem to really care if they are here or not. Read an article by Devils GM praising Larsson and said he wouldn’t have traded him for anyone other than McDavid. He also said that trade was riskier for him as he just moved a stud RHD which can’t be replaced and the Oil have a tone of skilled forwards to hide Halls loss. Crazy trade. I wanted change and it came with mixed feelings. This is a different team now, which is good. I want more change, maybe swap out Ebs, Pou, and Yak, but would need an Okposo or someone to do that. Yes to Lucic, I think it’s done already, hopefully the money and term are right but we have to do it either way now.

    • Ready to Win

      Here’s a thought, if PC gives Lucic the $6.5mil x 7 that is rumoured could two years of playing on McDavid’s wing make Lucic an easily traded asset when McDavid’s next contract is looming?

    • Jay (not J)

      He would be a good add. I don’t know, after ten years of sucking I am more excited about the four years that they can expect to get value out of this deal than I am worried about the 2or 3 where he’s a bit of a cap burden. We all knew this was going to be a summer of change, let’s reserve judgement for the product that they break camp with.

    • knee deep in it

      If the price of admission is 6 years, I hope we front load the contract. If he is done after 4 years, the smallest possible buyout is best. He also might be traceable to a salary floor team if he has a big cap but small salary

    • OILFANMEXICO

      YES, of course you sign Lucic! Chiarelli knows he has to start icing a winning team sooner than later(even more so now that he traded Hall).

      I seriously believe the next two seasons are vital both to the fan base and to the players. IMO, if we don’t come close to the playoffs, Chiarelli will be gone and it will cause a ripple effect that may see Connor to walk(He will not stay on a losing team).

      Chiarelli has come this far he can’t back down now. He has to go All-in, and hope it equates to the playoffs.

      All those who want to go after the cheaper options and “Safer” contract players need to buckle in and hang-on!

    • @Hallsy4

      We can afford to overpay players like Lucic a bit, as long as we avoid Nikitin/Jultz/Ference/Scrivs/Korpse and so on mistakes. Lucic changes our team immediately for the better and drastically. It’s a done deal. Our team will be good by tommorow and I am expecting a pleasant surprise or two in the signings or maybe another trade soon. Puju, MCD, Drai and our now good young D core is a good future team as well. We need to learn how to win and couldn’t wait anymore, complete rebuild mode doesn’t work as we found out, as young guys get pushed around and kicked when they’re down until losing becomes a culture. See Gags, Cogs, Yak, Nilsonn, Dubnyk Etc. all the future studs we had here who got ruined by being bottom feeders for so long. We have needed a Vet like Lucic for as long as I can remember. And overpay by 2 mil for the last two years of his deal we will be able to deal with