Milan Lucic is a useful player on a bad contract. His seven-year $42-million deal was a curious choice from the start, but Lucic had a decent track record and in theory, the Oilers could get a few productive years before it truly became an anchor contract. That time has come far earlier. Both the Oilers and Lucic are reportedly open to a trade, which could be a saving grace for the Oilers.
|Season||Team||Age||5-on-5 Points||5-on-5 Points Per 60|
Lucic’s 5-on-5 scoring has fallen off since arriving in Edmonton. He’s scored at a third-line rate while Connor McDavid has been one of his top linemates.
A historic year on the power play masked this in 2016-17. He scored 12 goals and 25 power play points, the first time he reached double digits in goals with the man advantage and almost double his previous career high (7) in 2011-2012. Last season, Lucic produced what you’d normally expect from him on the power play. He had 7 points and scored 2.40 points per 60.
Can his contract be moved?
Yes, but it might require taking a similar contract with big money back. There are rumours Lucic has asked for a trade. It appears that’s not the case, but both sides are exploring the possibility.
Lucic has five years left at $6 million per year and he’ll be 31 years old by next season. That’s a lot of money, but it’s been done before.
David Clarkson’s horrendous contract was moved twice. After signing him for $5.25 million for seven years, the Leafs traded him in the second year of his contract to Columbus for Nathan Horton’s uninsured deal. Clarkson was traded again to Vegas, along with a first-round draft pick. Clarkson’s career is over but two years at $5.25 million remain on his contract.
Dion Phaneuf’s bloated contract has been traded twice already. The Maple Leafs didn’t retain any salary sending him to Ottawa, but took back smaller, short-term contracts of Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, and Jared Cowen to facilitate the move.
Phaneuf was traded again last season, but the Senators had to retain salary and take on Marian Gaborik’s deal. They retained $1.75 million of Phaneuf’s salary and the last three years of Gaborik’s contract ($4.875 million AAV). Gaborik remains a buyout possibility if he can stay healthy.
Toronto traded Phil Kessel a year into his eight-year $8 million per year contract. The Leafs didn’t retain on either Clarkson or Phaneuf, but did on Kessel. They retained $1.2 million, leaving Kessel at a $6.8-million cap hit for the Penguins.
Dave Bolland was traded from Florida to Arizona after two years of his five-year $5.5 million per year contract. Florida had to package a former 11th-overall pick in Lawson Crouse with Bolland, but also received a third-round pick and conditional second-round pick. Bolland hasn’t played since.
Buffalo and Minnesota swapped problem contracts in the Marco Scandella trade. The Sabres took on Jason Pominville’s last two years and the Wild did the same for Tyler Ennis’ contract. Ennis might be bought out this off-season, while Pominville will likely remain on Buffalo’s roster for the last year of his contract after an okay season.
Is Milan moveable?
It can be done. The Leafs have traded some huge contracts and only retained salary on arguably the best player they moved. The Oilers should be able to move Lucic, but that might mean taking another bad contract. That’s preferable to retaining salary. Lucic is already in decline and it’s unlikely he’ll return to form in his thirties given his style of play and poor skating.
Getting rid of his contract with minimal money coming back should be a priority this off-season.
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