According to Frank Seravalli, there’s a chance that Milan Lucic could be on the move this summer as his name appears at #18 on TSN’s trade bait board. Not only that, Jason Gregor added more smoke to the rumour after he mentioned on his show that the big winger could be open to the idea of a trade. Let’s investigate that, shall we?
After signing a seven-year deal two summers ago, I don’t think anyone would have expected things to fall off the rails like this, at least not this fast. I remember the day Lucic signed that monster $42 million dollar deal and thinking that it might be a year or two too long, but that we’d cross that bridge when we got there and there wasn’t really much point in worrying about it now. Less than two years later, we’re already talking about whether or not the big man will be back for a third season with the Oilers despite still having five years left on his deal. Would you have expected that? I wouldn’t have. But I guess life comes at you fast.
In fact, our own Jason Gregor mentioned on his show that Lucic would actually be open for a trade provided that the landing spot fit with what he was looking for:
I’ve heard that (Lucic) would be open to a trade but, obviously, he’s going to have to agree to the city.
The fact that Lucic’s name is coming up in trade rumours shouldn’t exactly be surprising. The guy had nine points in the back half of the 2017-18 season and that’s the kind of production that is sure to spawn the “he might need a change of scenery” talk. That said, there is still a lot of time and cake left on this deal and I can’t help but think that it’s unlikely that we’ll see him move, but what the hell do I know? This rumour has enough legs at this point where I could easily be wrong so I figured I would look at some of the pros and cons of moving Lucic while also trying to figure out who might be interested in taking him.
- The Oilers desperately need cap space. Having a $6 million winger on the third line doesn’t exactly make much financial sense, and if that’s the role that Lucic is looking at for the future then it would certainly seem plausible for the Oilers to try and send some of that money elsewhere.
- The Oilers were often accused of being too slow last year and Milan Lucic would certainly be included in that. Once he gets to top speed he’s actually a decent skater, but like Bowser in Mariokart, getting up to that top end can take a minute or two.
- Last year, the play too often died on Lucic’s stick and he doesn’t have the quickness to turn it around and give chase back towards the defensive zone. Was that a confidence thing? Could be, but I’d rather not see those choppy one-handed passes anymore either way.
- If Lucic is in any way unhappy being here then why would the Oilers keep him around? If you love someone, Pete, set them free.
- If you’re a fan of the #GritChart then moving Lucic probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. With Pat Maroon gone since the deadline, the Oilers don’t have much left in terms of size on the wings and sending Lucic away would compound that fact.
- Love or hate it, the Pacific Division is full of big boys and Lucic’s style of play fits in with that. Now, skill can always seem to find a way around big and slow, but is that the kind of team Chiarelli wants?
- I truly believe that it’s important to have players on the roster that have won before and Lucic is the only guy with a Cup ring. In the playoffs, that experience can be valuable.
- Quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that Lucic won’t be better than he was at the end of last season. Those 40+ games were the worst of his NHL career and it almost seems likely, based on his career history, that he will bounce back in some way. I mean, I would bet Gregor’s money that he won’t go another half-season with only one goal to his name. Moving him now would certainly be selling low, but it’s still a gamble to expect that he will bounce back.
Considering there are still five years and $30 million left on Lucic’s deal, it’s going to take someone with a lot of cap space to take him on, or the Oilers will have to take back an ugly contract the other way to try and even out the money. Looking at NHL Numbers, teams like the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights have plenty of room under the cap for the winger, but it still seems unlikely given the former’s love of analytics and the overall team quickness of the latter. There are a couple of other teams that could maybe swing it but you know that the Oilers wouldn’t be able to come out of this one without some dollars coming back.
If you look at a ‘change of scenery’ type of deal, then the options open up a little bit more. Maybe Lucic would be open to a homecoming in Vancouver if it meant that the Canucks could send Louie Eriksson back the other way? I’m not saying it’s a great idea, but Chiarelli has traded for Eriksson before so it’s not exactly out of the realm of possibility. What about the Florida Panthers? There were rumours a while back that Nick Bjugstad might be available and landing in Sunrise, Florida, might a spot that Lucic would waive his no-trade for, you’d have to think. The Oilers would probably have to add value to the deal to make it work, but there could be a fit there. How about Carolina? According to basically every insider there is, the Hurricanes are looking at making some sweeping changes and maybe part of that is bringing in a former Cup winner?
Who am I missing?
The idea of Milan Lucic being traded this quickly is almost crazy, but there seems to be some smoke forming around the idea. Though, how surprised should we be? I had heard stories throughout the season that things weren’t exactly sunshine and roses for Lucic around here, and maybe a change of location is what he needs to get himself back on track. That said, he ultimately controls the situation with a no-move clause on his bullet proof contract that would make trading him tricky unless he likes what he’s seeing. That said, the Oilers could definitely use some cap relief and moving Lucic out would certainly provide that.
Of course, with $30 million still owed to him ($26 million in actual dollars), the Oilers would likely be getting back a bad contract or next to nothing in return so you have to wonder how Peter Chiarelli will approach this, especially when you consider the relationship he has with Looch from their Boston days. Would he be willing to trade the veteran he brought in for leadership as a favour to him or would he ask that he comes back ready to play? Trade or not, I can’t see these Lucic rumblings calming down any time soon or, at the very least, until there is some kind of comment from either the player or the organization. No matter what happens, things just got a little more interesting around here.
What do you guys think?
LUCIC’S CAREER SO FAR