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Photo Credit: © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Manufacturing a Milan Lucic move

Milan Lucic had a bad year. We know it, you know it, the team knows it, and he sure knows it.

He put up a mere 34 points playing in 82 games — the worst offensive season he had since his rookie season including a 29-game goalless stretch.

With five years left on a deal paying him $6-million a year, things are not looking well and now the rumour mill is starting to swirl.

When we look at this team moving forward, Lucic is taking up a significant portion of the cap and I don’t think moving on from him is a horrible idea.

Six-million is a big hit and if the Oilers are looking to move him there is a good chance that some cap is going to come back unless they swindle something with a team fighting to make it to the floor.

He is still an NHL player, but at 30 years old it is fair to say that he is not going to be improving much as a hockey player.

Can he bounce back? Sure — of course he can.

But at what point do you look at Lucic and say enough is enough? Will he be able to be a sixty-point guy like he once was in his career? It’s hard to say, but I would bank on that being a no.

With the game being played faster than ever, the big, bruising Lucic is a player of a dying breed. Having speed is proving to be more and more crucial in the league these days — just look at these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Oilers are in the driver seat here when it comes to Lucic. They could give him the Kassian/Maroon treatment and bring him back.

Both Kassian and Maroon came to the Oilers as bigger men and both of them worked to trim weight and speed up their game.

If Lucic were to lose even 10-15 lbs., there is a good chance his foot speed could improve. We saw how Kassian and Maroon became more effective players after they shed some lbs.

The Oilers, of course, have the ability to trade him as long as he gives clearance due to his full no-movement clause. This idea is one that seems to be picking up steam.

Elliotte Friedman told Bob Stauffer yesterday that there was a rumour going around last week Milan asked for a trade.

“I was told that was not the case. I asked somebody and they told me that he had not asked for it. But I believe there has been some conversation about is there a way that this can be worked on to make it happen. Look, I think this: Obviously everybody is really frustrated after last year. I think that Lucic is a guy who was frustrated. Obviously the fans are frustrated. And look, some places when things aren’t going really well, they’re very difficult be in.… But the issue here is not Milan Lucic the player, it’s Milan Lucic the contract. It’s a difficult contract to move, it’s buyout-proof, he hasn’t played well. I think all of that, it’s a huge obstacle in the way of any potential deal getting done.”

TSN’s Frank Seravalli joined Lowetide yesterday where he told him “they’re trying and talking to teams about potentially taking another contract back even if that means sweetening the pot with a pick or some other roster player in order to make it happen. They are pushing, or at least doing their due diligence and working to try and move on from Milan Lucic if they can. I just don’t know that it’s going to happen with that much term left. It’s going to be a really tough one to do.”

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

These words are very telling and there is clearly fire surrounding this smoke.

If the Oilers are looking to move Lucic — and I think they should sit down and have a long, hard look at it — then they need to move fast.

We are nearly two weeks away from the draft where I would imagine a deal coming down.

Teams like the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights and New York Rangers all have $25-million plus in cap space available and could all make viable trading partners.

The connection to the Vancouver Canucks will forever be there, given Lucic is from the city. Loui Eriksson is the Canucks problem contract, but he is now 32 with four years left on his deal. For that reason, I don’t foresee that being a possible trade.

It’s all hard to predict. After all, Lucic does determine his own fate.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • ed from edmonton

    Other than a bad contract for bad contract trade its hard to see how a Lucic trade could possibly happen. An then there is that NMC thing. In this case I think where there is smoke there is fog.

  • pynetime

    Would Milan Lucic for Andrew Shaw be something that interests anybody?

    I think both would be considered “regrets” by their current clubs, and we know that Montreal was in it until the end with Lucic two summers ago so he may be willing to waive his NMC to go there.

    Shaw has four more years @ 3.9M

    • crabman

      I would do that deal. Shaw is what he is and was overpaid the day he was signed. At $2.1M savings, no NMC and an easier contract to move or buy out down the road if they choose to do so make it a more attractive contract.
      Shaw wouldn’t be my 1st choice but if it was a 1 for 1 with no salary retained I think that is a good move.

  • EastVanOilFan

    I heard a few months back that Lucic hated living in Edmonton, especially after the break in. Didn’t really put much stock into it at the time, but seeing as we are here talking about a potential trade now, who knows maybe that team lost he’s willing to be moved to is pretty high. Idk if it’s worth sacrificing a 1st/2nd pick or a prospect as I see ML bouncing back a bit but having that salary back would be huge.

    • Rob...

      I thought it wasn’t a break-in, but instead a neighbour who accidentally damaged a door. Note was left in the mailbox so he assumed it was a break-in until he found the note. What’s the truth here? Because if I’m right, you’re blowing a lot of smoke buddy.

      • EastVanOilFan

        Hey just something I heard. 2
        Months ago lucic was unmovable, now that a trade is imminent. Maybe it wasn’t because of a break in but maybe he still doesn’t like Edmonton. It’s totally speculative so maybe you need to sit back relax and have a little smoke too

        • TKB2677

          I doubt it has anything to do with the City. It would have to do with the fans. I am sure he knew that playing in a Canadian market is way different than an American City. We love our hockey teams but I doubt he could be fully prepared for just how over the top it could be. When times are good, hockey players are god and can do no wrong. When times get at all tough, fans line up for the chance to slit your throat. It’s ridiculous. As a die hard Oilers fans, I am at times ashamed at my fellow fans for how over the top stupid they are.

          Last year, Chia was up for executive of the year voted by HIS PEERS. I year later, most Oilers fans think he is the worse GM of all time.
          Last year McLellan was up for coach of the year. 1 year later, Oilers fans think he can’t coach.
          Lucic had a decent first year, pretty much on par with his career average. This season was bad, it went as bad as it could. The first time even for his career. Oilers fans think he is basically a waste of skin and completely washed up.

          I have even heard and read ridiculous statements from Oilers fans questioning McDavid’s ability to lead a team because the Oilers didn’t do very well this year and Team Canada didn’t win gold at the World Cup. What were some of the main causes of the Oilers sucking? Goaltending. Their starter had a BAD year. Worst of his career. You can’t WIN in the NHL without good goaltending but McDavid’s isn’t a good leader. Team Canada had Curtis McIlhenney and Darcy Kuemper, 2 mediocre career back ups as their goalies. They at times couldn’t stop a beach ball yet, McDavid and his leadership are too blame.

          People should go look in other Oilers sites like Oilfans and read and see the Polls in there about the Oilers window being DONE and having no chancing of winning a cup with McDavid. McDavid is 21 and basically played 2.5 seasons because he missed his first year and apparently the Oilers to many fans are DONE.

          So if Lucic would consider a trade only 2 years in because he can’t handle the insanity that is Oilers fans, I don’t blame him. I am just a fan and at times, I can barely handle it.

          • crabman

            I’m sure the negativity around him and the team by fans could.be a factor. And I’m sure the city doesn’t live up to living in Boston and LA, if him and his family enjoy big city living.
            But if I were a betting man I would say sure they are probably factors but I think he probably sees his time in the top6 of the Oilers coming to an end. He was so happy to be coming to Edmonton to play with McDavid. He referenced it as a big reason he signed here. 2 years later and his shot at playing on McDavid’s wing seems to be over and he might not even get a chance to play in the top6. Lucic is a proud man and rather than take the criticism from the fans and media, and except the fact he isn’t a top6 winger anymore he would like a chance to be a top6 winger elsewhere.
            purely speculation but my two cents.

          • btrain

            Well said. I completely agree with you. The false narratives this fan base believes in are troubling (i.e. Soft player; needs a fresh start; he had an attitude problem; washed up; worst coach in the league, worst goalie in the league, poor for the culture; cancer in the room, disappears in the playoffs, Jerk in the community, Me guy, etc, etc). All it takes is a tiny sample size of adversity or success for this fanbase to completely flip in either direction.

            There seems to be little ability for a large faction of this fan base to keep their emotions in check and maintain objectivity. For example, many would be quite willing to pick apart Talbot and right him off while he had a better regular season than Holtby, Price, or Murray. There is also little doubt that Holtby and Murray had superior teams in front of them this year. Yet, you never heard the alarm bells go off in these other organization, nobody panicked that these guys are forever destined to be the leagues worst starting tenders, that they needed to be traded immediately. No, that garbage only happens in Edmonton.

            Even in a tough market like Montreal, there remains some essence of loyalty. Articles such as the following are still plentiful regarding Cary Price https://awinninghabit.com/2018/05/24/montreal-canadiens-fans-voice-appreciation-carey-price/.

            I am looking forward to when McDavid gets this organization use to winning and people can remove their hands from the panic/reset button long enough to see things turn around.

          • Johnnymaced

            Most of the informed oilers fans don’t really have anything against Lucic the player, it’s Lucic the contract that really sucks and that falls on management. The executive of the year was laughable when it happened. Even with 2016-2017 I think that was more in spite of Chiarelli than is was because of him.

        • Clyde Frog

          I heard that Milan loves the River Valley and is demanding it be moved as part of any trade deal.

          Lol, either quote a source or “I heard” is interchangeable with “I wish”

    • toprightcorner

      First, it wasn’t a break in, his neighbour kid somehow hit his garage with a car???

      2nd – the only thing I could see pushing Lucic to be willing to leave Edmonton is that he realizes the attention he gets for playing poor is 10 times more than BOS or LA. In those cites, fans have other things to occupy themselves with, Edmonton fans only have hockey and he had 50 terrible games and there was an article somewhere almost everyday. He could not hide in Edmonton and i he is quickly deteriorating as a player, Edmonton would be the last city he would want to do that in.

  • C U Next Tuesday

    Why do I think that even if Chia is able to trade Looch that it will still blow up in his face. The player coming back might be worse or have a worse contract. That is almost impossible but it is probable.

  • T.J.F.M

    Knowing Chia, he will probably trade Lucic for Seabrook (increasing the term and the cap hit), then immediately trade Klefbom to the Islanders for a nobody that will never make the NHL roster nor play a game in the NHL.

    That is the typical Chiarelli offseason to expect.

  • HockeyDad

    Bad contract for bad contract…. how about:
    Weber (MTL) $7,857,143 x 8 years – RHD plus 2nd round pick(s) or prospect(s)
    Lucic – $6,000,000 x 5 years
    Does this serve as the base for any trade knowing that we take on an additional 1.8M in bad contract for an extra 3 years. The trade may get us a big minute RHD (assuming Weber is healthier next year and moves Lucic out…

  • puckle-head

    “The Oilers are in the driver seat here when it comes to Lucic.” – How do you figure? He has a NMC and a toxic contract very few teams will want and even then, only under very specific circumstances. They may be in the driver seat, but the car is free-falling off a cliff.

  • I would explore a deal with LA. Lucic was happy there and he was offered a new contract, although less than what he got in Edmonton.

    Congrats to the Washington Capitals!
    Nicely played. The reason Vegas lost is the hockey gods didn’t want them to win. No expansion team should win the cup in their first year.

    And who picked the Caps to win the cup? That’s right, I did. And who gets a free dinner at the Keg? That’s right, I do.
    Bon appetit Bob.

  • OriginalPouzar

    You mention that a deal is likely to happen at the draft – I disagree. I think its likely to happen (if it does) after July 1 as Lucic is owed a $3.5M signing bonus on July 1.

    For an internal budget team that’s looking for a cap hit higher than real dollars spent, a trade after July 1 makes the contract somewhat attractive.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I would like to see Milan come back in October and play simple, hard-nosed, 3rd line hockey. Dump chase and punish. More nastiness. Maybe some PP mins. I refuse to believe that 46 bad games (many of them very bad) represents the player he will be going forward. Is his contract an anchor? Absolutely. Of course if he wants out, move him (I don’t think he’s that kind of guy). Otherwise, I for one have no issues with 6mil for a 40pt nuclear deterrent as long as he plays that way. I remember being embarrassed watching the Oilers get bullied out of their own rink 2008-2015. No Maroon, no Lucic, no Kassian (like many here want) leaves JJ Khaira, and Nurse to protect Connor.

    If Looch stays, he will rebound.

    • Finnaggled

      What a silly statement to make. A 30 year old power forward rarely “rebounds”. Furthermore, the idea of nuclear deterrents “protecting” players is as antiquated as hockey with no helmets. Having Lucic on the team, by no means, stops anyone from running mcdavid. Tom Wilson ect are not afraid of Lucic’s retaliation. In fact i’d imagine few are, these are hardy men who have played, and excelled against tough guys their entire playing careers.

    • puckle-head

      But the Oilers always had gritty, tough guys in their roster in their bad years. Luke Gazdic, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Mark Fistric, Ryan Jones, Corey Potter, Theo Peckham, Mike Brown, the list goes on. They were embarrassed out their own rink because they sucked.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Its no secret that he’s had a tough transition to Edmonton and the following quotes are fairly express in that regard:

    https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/the-interview-milan-lucic-on-oilers-mcdavid-gretzky/

    Was the transition moving to Edmonton easier? Or tougher, considering you have a family now?
    _________________________________________
    “It was tough, especially coming from L.A., being in a climate like that and in a city like that, also the set-up they had, it was pretty awesome. You’re coming to a place where it’s a lot more small town.

    I’ve always lived in a place where it’s kinda been go, go, go. You’re used to a lot of people, you’re used to a lot of traffic, fast-paced type of living. And you come here and It’s a complete 180. It actually took me a lot of time. I got here in September, it probably took me until middle of February to get used to things around here. The transition from Boston to L.A. didn’t take as long.”

    —————————
    It’s all hockey?

    “It’s tough. As much as you get to know your teammates, and as much as I’ve gotten to know Connor, a lot of the times I’m at home hanging out with my wife and kids so I don’t do all the fun outside stuff that he and the other young guys do. You hear about them going go-karting. They try to do stuff to keep themselves busy here in Edmonton. I’m busy parenting and watching princess movies and playing. But I guess that’s it: You like to hear the fact that he goes out here and there and is not afraid to be a 20-year-old once in a while.”

    ——————————————–
    Did you experience that in Boston?

    ‘Yeah for sure. It was a lot easier, though, especially when you’re one of four sports teams and there’s a lot of other things going on as well. Where here it’s, you know, the Oilers are it.”

    • TKB2677

      Reading his comments is interesting but when he talks about the team and not hanging out with his teammates. No disrespect to Milan but ummmm…. what you described is called GROWING UP. Connor and Leon and Nurse and who ever else probably do go out all the time and do all kinds of things that you don’t because THEY ARE IN THEIR 20’s. They aren’t married, they don’t have kids, I bet some of them don’t even live by themselves yet, they have a roommate. When I was in my early 20’s and I wasn’t married and I didn’t have any kids and the biggest responsibilities I had was getting to work on time and keeping the lights on. Guess what, I went out all the time with friends. WHY? Because I could. Because I didn’t have kids sports to drag a kid too. I didn’t have to pick up a kid from school, or be around a sick kid or have a house and payments. I wasn’t worried about paying into kids education funds or worrying about retirement or life insurance. I had a good job and I had a few bills to pay, rent and a car payment. THAT’S IT. Then when I got married and I had kids and actual responsibilities, I had to grow up. I still go out with buddies but we all are married and have kids as well. So we might go out a couple times a month instead of multiple times a week. I bet when Milan was in his early 20’s in Boston, he was out partying and doing all the stuff the young guys did and there were lots of guys in their late 20’s and 30’s who were married and had kids sitting at home just like he is doing not. That’s called adult life Milan.

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        Dude, why are you attacking Lucic? He said it was hard to adjust to a new city and he’s not a young man. That’s it. The adjustment to Edmonton invovles a lot and he’s saying it was tough to deal with. He said nothing ill-intentioned, nothing mean, and you take a steaming dump on him for no reason?

        Come on, man.

  • EastVanOilFan

    RUMOUR ALERT- Lucic submitted a list of transnational he would be willing to be traded to. No Canadian teams on the list. Don’t ask for my source also I don’t care if you don’t care for this post. So shove it this fan message board is for fun anyways

  • Simba99

    To compare Kassian and lucic is obsurd and the fact if Kassian was given the same opportunity as lucic he could put up 50 points he has better hands and is faster I believe second only to mcdavid but has never been given the opportunity hopefully this new coaching staff acknowledges this

    • crabman

      Kassian may not have been given the opportunity on the Oilers but he was auditioned a couple of seasons as a top line winger in Vancouver playing with the twins but didn’t have the talent or hockey IQ to stick. He is a career high 29 point player, and only ever cracked 20 points twice .I don’t think he automatically turns into a 50 point guy just because he would be put into our top6.

  • LordVallko

    Todd sucks, he has screwed this franchise out of now 2 playoff runs, I say the end, fire his princess arse fast, then you will see real change but we are likely too late now to go deep with Mcd’s money kicking in. Or maybe we should get rid of all the size and turn back into the teeny weeny, if you hit the will quit team of the past. Bone head people in the media.

  • Carbonrod

    The best case scenario is that he bounces back next year and plays better. 6 million for a 34 point player is a bad contract for sure. But 6 million a year for a 45+ point player is only a small overpay, and if he wanted to move he would have more value for us. To move him we would have to give up an asset or picks to make the deal possible and we don’t have too many pieces we can afford to give up. If there is a deal that will help us more than hurt us and we have a way to use the cap space for a piece we really need we should definitely consider it, but Chia is the guy that got us Larsson for MVP candidate Taylor Hall, what is he gonna get back for Lucic?!

  • 24% body fat

    Rusell, Reinhart, Lucic., this is the mess Chia made, now all you Chia fans can live it. The drive for Grit instead of skill has cost this team a decade worth of consecutive highly competitive teams. After being gifted a decade of high draft picks there should be an abundance of skill. But the clowns willingness to pay whatever price he needs to to get his guy (which is almost always the wrong guy) has looted that. Now for the next decade we will be trading prospects to fill gaps, instead of trading strengths for prospects to keep the system going.

    He is a terrible judge of pro talent,

    He does not know how to build a team in todays NHL

    and He is not a good negotiator, how is he employed?

  • Natti_89

    Almost everyone forgets how awesome it was when we got him and no one complained in the playoffs. The whole team laid a turd last year and now most of the people on this site want him gone. How do some of you even get dressed in the morning? It’ll nice seeing your posts when he turns it around this year and you nay sayers start gushing. Shame. It’s because of attitudes of people like YOU that we will chase a person who wanted to come here away. Be better

  • Heschultzhescores

    I still like Looch, I’m not on the bandwagon to railroad him out of here. We gotta start being fans and stop running players out of town that almost always do better when the pressure is off.

  • oilerjed

    Can teams trade buyouts? If so, we could trade them Lucic++draft pick for faulk and semins contract? 2.3 mil for 3 more years but they get a hockey player for a couple of years. Doesnt save us much cap room but does give us a reasonably priced RD but does open up another spot on the wing

  • Freddie the fog

    Some people on here are just too much. With their crap comments it’s no wonder the Oilers aren’t a preferred destination for players. B better people . We already have miserable winters, a front office that’s been a mess for way too long, a brutal travel schedule in comparison to almost every other club, id rather not be known for having a bunch of jerks for a fanbase on top of all disadvantages we already have. Keep running guys out of town and then crying when we cant attract and keep top talent here. This garbage does get back to players…its not a good look for the Edmonton Oilers.

  • toprightcorner

    If you are trading Lucic, the Oilers will end up losing that deal. He is coming off his worst season, so his value is low and his cap is high. If he had 45-50 pts, you could trade him and probably at least break even.

    Next year, Lucic likely bounces back to 50 pt range and that puts his in the rage of a $5 mill value player. Right now his value is likely a $3.5 mill player, meaning he is overpaid be $2,5 mill, meaning you will likely have to take a bad player greatly under playing his contract, and even then, you may have to hold cap. If you do trade for that type of player, it is very unlikely that player has a bounce back season, where Lucic is all but guaranteed to hit 50 pts because he will be fighting for his pride.

    The best option I see is Carolina. The new owner, Dundon has already proven himself to be an oddball and has said many times he wants to add size, strength and grit to the team. There are not many players like that and Lucic , voted as the strongest player by his peers, is the best player that fits the bill. If Chiarelli can sell him on a bounce back season, they might be able to actually get something back of decent return. They also want a center with a big body, ala Ryan Strome. They are also fell out of love with Lindholm, a right shot C/RW. Like Strome, he is also an RFA and will probably get a little more as he has slightly more offence, but Strome has the size Dundon wants.

    If the Oilers would take Faulk and take on $1 mill salary, does that work? Faulk has 2 years at $4.8 and could likely be resigned. With that $1 mill they keep from Lucic, it would be like overpaying each of them $500k a year Lindholm would likely get $3 mill but would be like paying him $3.5 and I think Lindholm can show more in Edmonton as he would definitely be top 6 RW. It woul dbe like paying Faulk $5.3 for the next 2 years, which is probably his going rate. Then in his next deal, if he was looking for $6 mill, that would mean he found his offence again and was putting up 15 goals and 45 pts. If he got $6 it would like paying him $6.5. I see him putting up more points in Edmonton, based on playing with a much stronger offense, I would be fine paying him the cap of $6.5 (including $500k of Lucic) That fine for a top 4 Right shoot PP QB that puts up 50 pts.

    Lucic (Oilers take $1 mill) and Strome for Lindholm and Faulk is probably doable. I see Dundon liking the size he gets back. Oilers may have to throw in 2019 3rd round pick.

    I like that better than Lucic and JP for Faulk and Lindholm. If that was the ask, the Oilers would have to get a top AHL prospect as well.

  • treblecharger

    The level of stupidity in some of these comments is breathtaking. If you are all so frickin’ knowledgeable about hockey what NHL team do you work for? None. You’re just a fan with an ill informed opinion, you have literally not one frickin clue what goes on in the room, how the coaches interact, how the players mesh with each other on & off the ice, or how to be an NHL GM. Why do players not want to come here and why do the ones that are here want to leave? Because you suck. You think you know everything because you played a little growing up snd followed the game but you have no idea. Think for a minute…you get a critical opinion on what you do for a living, what you are an expert at, and 100,000 idiots think they know better than you. I’m ashamed of you clowns. Shut up & enjoy the game, dont like the team, cheer for someone else. Next to Leafs fans, Oil fans are worst in the league for this. THINK! USE YOUR HEAD! and SHUT THE HELL UP!

    • Freddie the fog

      I agree. This is our hometown team. U may not like alot of things they do. I don’t. But none of us are experts. And waaaaaaay too many so called fans are A****les that seem to enjoy ripping on players . Just shut up and support “your” team . You wanna criticize fine. But do so with a little tack. Like i said before this market has enough challenges already . Treblecharger and i ( and others thank God) would rather not b thought of as a bad fanbase. Which is exactly what most of you know it alls on here are.

      • IRONman

        Fans care. PC has made ridiculous mistakes. You don’t need a MBA to see it. Common sense guys, goes long way. Griffen, Lucic are mistakes that cost Hall, AHO, and Barzal. Pc is pathetic and time is proof