111
Photo Credit: @cooom

WWYDW: Milan Lucic

For Milan Lucic, our large adult son, the bad times are compounding these days and there doesn’t look to be any relief in sight. The veteran winger has now gone 27 straight games without a goal. It’s the longest such streak he’s ever had in the NHL outside of his rookie season in Boston.

So the question for this week’s WWYDW is, what would you do with Milan Lucic?

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Milan Lucic is having an absolute nightmare of a season. Not only his he not scoring (or assisting for that matter), but he’s also having the play die on his stick more often than not. According to Fox Sports, Lucic currently sits 18th place in the NHL in giveaways (64), the most by any Oiler (Kris Russell is 2nd with 59). To make matters worse, Lucic has only five assists during this slump and all but one of them have been secondary assists (the only primary apple came on an empty net goal). For a guy that’s making $6 million per year, that lack of production is unacceptable and something has to change. Matt Henderson took a deeper look at the numbers here.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here now, I actually feel bad for the guy. I know that he’s as pissed off as anyone about not being able to get on the scoresheet, but in professional sports it’s the results that matter and not the intent. Aside from hitting the post in last night’s loss to the Sharks, can you remember him getting a scoring chance or even having anything go his way in general? Personally, I think something needs to change and it’s where he’s slotted in the lineup. But it doesn’t matter what I think, WWYDW is about what you think.

THE OPTIONS…

Jan 6, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic (27) during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Oilers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Since we have to assume that Lucic will be around for as long as Peter Chiarelli is in charge (his contract is another issue but that’s a story for another day), then what are the options? Is there a way to send the guy a message, letting him know he’s not playing up to par with what is expected of him without sewering the relationship? Do we even care?

1) Reduced Ice Time: Considering the opportunities Lucic has been given over the past week or so (he played 19:33 last night, basically all of it with McDavid) and not being able to convert on anything, I wonder if/when Todd McLellan will send him a message. Will we see Lucic playing on the fourth line? Will we ever see him get down to the 10-12 minute mark? If a guy like Puljujarvi has to earn his ice time (yeah, I know he’s a rookie) then why doesn’t Lucic? That said, Lucic is averaging 16:20/night which is the lowest average he’s seen since 2009-10.

2) Pressbox Visit: As far as I could find, the last time Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch was in April of 2013. Could he be a line for a date with the popcorn machine if things don’t improve? I mean, other players have been scratched for less and you’d have to hope that the accountability would extend to veterans like Lucic. To me, this is a no-brainer and I’m almost (ALMOST!) surprised that it hasn’t happened already.

3) Trade: As I mentioned, I don’t think that Lucic will be moved so long as the current regime is still in place. That said, stranger things have happened in the NHL and you never know who’s going to need to get to the cap floor in the future. That said, Lucic’s salary and bonus structures don’t see him making less than his cap hit until the 2020-21 season.

4) Buyout: You can’t do it. His contract is bulletproof. He has so much money tied up in signing bonuses that buying him out wouldn’t save much of anything.

5) Sacrifice for the Gods: Maybe we need to start thinking on a spiritual level. Maybe something is going on with the cosmos that our mortal senses aren’t able to pick up? I’m not ready to cross that off the list, and maybe, just maybe we should be out looking for a sacrifice to appease the gods. Human? Animal? Otherwise? We may not know just how powerful this darkness can be.

6) Something else: Is there another idea that you can think of? Allergy to his equipment, perhaps?

WHAT SAY YOU?

Sep 25, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic (27) looks for a pass in front of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling (33) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the options are laid out, I’m curious to know what you would do with Milan Lucic in both the short and long term. Would you sit him? Banish him to the press box forever? Come up with the most epic trade loss of all time just to move him? I think the contract numbers tell a story that truly limits the options with this player, but maybe there’s something I’m overlooking? I don’t have the answers, but luckily, that’s why you’re here. I know that you guys will have the answers to this problem and that, together, we can collectively figure out a solution for making this work.

Are there options that I haven’t covered? Are we stuck with him forever? You tell me.

LUCIC’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
2017-18 63 9 22 31 -7 63 3 6 0 0 1 0 115 7.8
NHL Career 792 191 287 478 110 964 37 98 0 0 35 1 1,366 14

 


WWYDW IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY PRO AM SPORTS

What would you do to be the ultimate fan?  Go to https://www.proamsports.ca for all your officially licensed NHL gear and memorabilia.
  • Cap'n Obvious

    I’m hoping Milan totally reinvents himself over the summer. I’m talking a complete and total overhaul of body composition and role. Lucic is a proud guy and I figure he’ll take all the steps over the summer to come back a changed player. A quest for redemption makes people dangerous.

      • Cap'n Obvious

        Lots of athletes have to reinvent themselves to survive. I see him dropping a lot of weight and dedicating to improving foot speed over the summer. I’m hoping the man can retool. It would damn cool to see that. I guess I’m cheering for the guy because who, in their own life, hasn’t had to adapt when they were forced into the corner by circumstances? It’s evolve or die. I seriously doubt Milan Lucic will let the league pass him by.

    • he shoots he scars

      I don’t know that he has to do much ‘body’ work. Maroon came in lighter this season and was he any faster? I think Milan has to work on his skating maneuverability, ie quicker turns, changes of direction. That will improve his play coming off the boards in both ends, and make him more of a defensive checker. He’ll never have the straight ahead speed for todays game so he’s going to have to become a less offensive player. He has to tighten his curls and cuts, get quicker on stop and goes, improve on rolling off bodies in traffic and similar things. Footwork drills pre practice and all summer.

  • GK1980

    I would drop him off of the top two lines and let him figure it out on the bottom 6. Reduce his role to a checker and not so much for him to produce offence (He hasn’t anyways). His response last game was disappointing, he can at least instill some fear into opponents by getting in their grill.

    • tkfisher

      And none of these couch superstars are being paid a fraction of his 6 million dollar salary to help the Oilers win, so comparing the two is dumb. Is he preforming well at the NHL level and does his cap hit help or hurt the team? Those are the only questions that matter.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    I like Looch he will retoool himself and be ready for next season still one of the toughest guys in hockey that alone means something when we have the best player in the game on our team. For all the trolls and Lucic haters get a life.56

  • That's My Point

    Goody two, goody two, goody goody two shoes
    Goody two, goody two, goody goody two shoes
    Don’t score, don’t fight, what do you do?
    Don’t score, don’t fight, what do you do?

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Wasn’t Lucic scoring at a ~60 point pace to start the year? I think he can work through this, drop some weight like Maroon did, and come back again next year. If we can get another two years of 50-60 point Lucic, his contract will be a little more palatable.

    • gr8haluschak

      what a stupid comment, if anyone thinks buying him out is an answer you are and idiot, tell me how does having such significant dead cap space for double the time remaining is a smart idea. These types of comments prove why people like you are no where near an NHL team.

      • he’s a bad player, with an untradeable contract, who is hurting the team. His cap hit isn’t going anywhere. You’re better off paying him to not be on the team, just as the you’d be better off firing Chiarelli, and MacClellan, and paying whatever is left on their contracts. What choice is there? Just healthy scratch him for 4 years or hope he gets a career ending injury?

  • Play Dirty

    Sorry Mr. Milk, this article is a troll-job and it’s dragging the quality of your site down by pandering to the negativity. It’s kinda like you got a new contract (judging by all the ads we now wade through the cash must be coming in) but now, unfortunately, we’re seeing the quality has slipped. I hope it’s just a slump and not the long term downfall of what was once a quality player – errr – website.

  • CMG30

    Because so many fans can’t get it through their heads let’s recap how we got in this situation: The GM moved a superstar and productive player in Taylor Hall for pennies on the dollar in order to make room on the roster to sign Lucic. The type of game Lucic plays is well known wear out players prematurely but he was still signed to a cap hit of 6M for 7 years at the age of 29 more than doubling his previous 2.75M salary. Lucic built his reputation during the seasons from 2009-2014, ever since then his performance has been tailing off yet our GM thought it was a good idea to dramatically overpay in both $$$, term and worse some kind of NMC.

    It’s not out of the question that he may have a bit of a bounce back year next but it’s not reasonable to assume that a bounce back will continue through the rest of his contract. As time goes by he will become a bigger and bigger drag on this franchise. Therefore, the best thing the Oilers can do is try to find a trading partner now, while his reputation still has some value and before his contract really starts to bite.

    Edmonton needs to audition people on McDavids wing and sign those that show they compliment him, not just be carried by him. Maroon was a good example of this. He came in a promptly stole Lucic’s role. If our current GM can’t place his loyalty to the team above his desire to reward a player who helped win him cups in Boston then we need a new GM.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Keep playing him. He’s a pro – treat him like one. Let him work his way out of the slump. Not saying that means he should automatically be on McD’s left wing but he’s a key player on this team and he needs minutes to get himself out of this.

    • hammer313

      I would love this idea and hope it can happen, just it won’t. I saw his regression last year compared to what I witnessed in Boston. This year, another massive dip from last year. Next year will be the same, if not worse. For every fan out there, I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not. Getting tired of hearing about his off season turnaround, can’t see it, false hope.

  • The Whispererer

    I have a vague memory that when Lucic hit UFA he said in an interview that he would like to play/live in Vancouver. Obviously that’s not happening.
    The Oilers have to bite the bullet for the next 2 years, play Lucic on 3rd/4th line unless he earns a promotion, ask him to waive his NMC for the Seattle expansion draft ( close enough to Vancouver ? ) and give Seattle an inducement to pick him. If he refuses to waive at that point, a buyout is the only option or else we risk losing a better asset that we can’t protect.