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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation: Oilers have a deal in place for Lucic?

According to Andy Stickland from Fox Sports, there are rumblings circling that the Oilers could have a deal in place for Milan Lucic. This rumour comes only a week after his agent, Gerry Johansson, appeared on Oilers Now to calm things down a little bit so the timing is pretty funny overall. Which side is right? Let’s break this down. 

After the season ended, there has been a seemingly endless supply of rumours surrounding the Oilers and Milan Lucic. Guys like Gregor, Friedman, and Seravalli have all talked about Lucic’s willingness to accept a trade out of Edmonton and how the Oilers are working to make it happen, but that’s kinda where things have stopped. The rumours were coming in hot and heavy for a while, but have calmed down considerably over the past couple 10 days or so.

Last week, Milan Lucic’s agent jumped on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer to talk about the rumours that his client wanted out of Edmonton, and whether or not he had asked the organization for a trade. At the time, Johansson was pretty adamant that he hadn’t had any trade request conversations with the Oilers and that Looch would be back and ready to play come training camp time. Did he ask? Didn’t he? Is this all just a semantics game?

From the interview:

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“I have not had that conversation with Peter. I can tell you this, it’s funny, cause I do hear this a lot when a player has a tough year, which Milan did, and when teams have a tough year, which obviously Edmonton did, you hear all sorts of crazy stuff that goes on. Obviously, there’s a lot of frustration on everybody’s part — because there should be. Everybody expects more and as with Milan and as should the Oilers. But Milan is 100 per cent ready to come back and play. And he’s going to be back with the Oilers. He’s always been an Oiler since the day he signed.”

At the time, I didn’t really buy what Johansson was selling and I still don’t, especially when you consider that he was showing up on the radio only 24 hours after Chiarelli dropped a ‘no comment’ when asked directly if Milan had requested a trade. Rather than just saying no to Jim Matheson’s question, Chiarelli added fuel to the fire which meant that the inevitable damage control was coming. I mean, showing up on the rights holder’s Oilers-centred radio show to dispel a rumour that was taking off wasn’t exactly surprising move from the PR playbook, ya know?

“I can promise you he’ll be back and ready to roll.”

Sure, Gerry, I fully agree with you that he’ll be ready to play by the time the season rolls around again but are we sure that it’s going to be here? Andy Strickland isn’t exactly Eklund here, and what he’s saying is a direct contraction to the story we all heard a week ago. So who should we believe? Either way, we’re getting closer to an answer.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I’m guessing that the if Strickland is right and the Oilers do actually have a deal in place that will move Lucic out of town, that it will only come after the Oilers pay out his $3.5 million bonus on July 1st. If that’s the case, you would hope that paying out his bonus means that the return would get bumped up considering the Oilers would be taking care of a fair chunk of what’s left in actual dollars owed. According to NHL Numbers, Lucic is still owed $26 million on his contract, and having the Oilers take care of his July 1st bonus would leave whoever picks him up on the line for the remaining $22.5 million (if they retained the full value of his contract, of course). It’s still a lot of cake to be certain, but it’s also significantly less than the $30 million in cap space that he’ll take up over the five remaining years on his deal.

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Could there be a budget team out there that needs to add to the cap while also wanting to save some cash while they’re at it? It’s possible. Is it more likely that whatever the return would be is another similar cap hit type of contract (read: older overpaid player)? Probably.

That all said, with the horrible year he had in 2017-18, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Lucic back in an Oilers jersey for the upcoming season because I assume the offers that Peter Chiarelli is fielding on him are pretty underwhelming. Unless they agree to retain a bunch of salary or take on a bloated contract coming back the other way, I don’t see how the Oilers can win this trade from a hockey perspective. That’s said, if the Oilers believe that Lucic’s decline will be swift and steady over the last five years of his contract, or if he is truly unhappy being here as I think he is, then it would make sense to do whatever it takes to get that elephant out of the room. Attitudes matter and from what I’ve heard from people I trust, Lucic’s wasn’t all that great at times. Then again, Strickland’s tweet could turn out to be nothing at all, just like the endless rumours that were flying around last week before the draft.

Could this be a case where the Oilers add by subtraction, giving themselves some cap relief that they desperately need, or will whatever comes back fill up that bucket to the point where the savings are negligible? Is this just more chatter that’s coming up at a time of the year when NHL teams get silly and the rumours have more legs than normal? I guess we’re about to find out.

What do you guys think?

LUCIC AS AN OILER SO FAR

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP G A Pts PIM
2016-17 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 23 27 50 50 -3 13 2 4 6 20
2017-18 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 10 24 34 80 -12
NHL Totals 811 192 289 481 981 114 28 42 70 179

Source: Andy Strickland, Fox Sports, 6/28/2018 – 9:06 am MST


  • ROILYDoGG$

    Great another lost trade due to weakness of a poor situation. I would rather keep him and have him bounce back with more swagger. I think this will be a bad move and I’m scared to see the final results.

    • TKB2677

      In all likelihood, Lucic is going to have a better year next year regardless where he is playing. I think he gets back to his usual 20 goals, close to 50 pts. So if a trade were to happen, chances are the Oilers “lose” the trade in year one because I doubt you get a 20 goal scorer back. What is unknown is what happens after that to Lucic. Can he put up those types of numbers for a few more years or does he drop off again after this coming season. So if as an example, the Oilers can get a decent 3rd liner out of him, a guy that puts up consistent 3rd line number, kills some penalties and skates well plus you get some cap relief, I would see that as a win.

      • tkfisher

        If Lucic plays on the third line without McDavid or Leon I can see any possible universe that he scores 20. I would like to think it was possible, I just don’t see it happening. Hall + 4 million in cap space > Larson and Lucic. Broken record.

    • DoubleOhhStoned

      how’s it a lost trade? he’s washed up, over paid, poor attitude, etc etc. what’s the market for that? anytime you get rid of a player like that, you win the trade.

    • Arfguy

      Agreed. I’d rather they stick with him, put him on the 3rd line (or maybe even the 2nd line with Draisaitl if he gets back some of his confidence) rather than try and unload him to get cap relief and have to package draft picks as an incentive.

  • Phattmike

    Love the speculation, but it hasn’t been said that he was asked to waive his NTC yet and Strickland is a St. Louis rinkside reporter. Not sure how much stock I’d put into his word.

  • E-Mac

    Maybe I am naive but I honestly don’t see how we should be retaining any salary in any Lucic deal. If retaining salary is the reality now, then deal him after this season. He literally cannot have a worse season than he just had.

    No doubt his contract is way too long so despite me thinking he will bounce back next year I still feel we should trade him with the long term in mind. And then hopefully Chia will actually use the cap space to improve the roster.

  • Spydyr

    “I don’t see how the Oilers can win this trade from a hockey perspective.”

    Since they gave up nothing but cap room to acquire Lucic and they get a bag of pucks back and retain none of Lucic’s contract they will have won what they paid back plus a bag of pucks thus winning the trade.

  • camdog

    I’m guessing it’s for Faulk, just to give Henderson something new to complain about. The player/contract that could never, ever be traded, traded for the player that shouldn’t be traded for. Lol

    • Carbonrod

      If we got Faulk for Lucic, that would be a huge win. Not because Faulk is our saviour on defence, but because we would only be on the hook for 2 years at <6million I stead of 5 long years, and he could hold a place on right defence for a couple of years so we don’t try to rush Bouchard.

      In the mean time we would have a guy that could qb the pp until Bouchard is ready. I’d take that deal in a second. It wouldn’t solve any problems on the wing, but the cap after 2 seasons would have some room.

  • CMG30

    Lucic is one of those players who’s mystique long ago outstripped his performance on the ice and value to the team. Will he bounce back next season? Well, it’s virtually impossible for him to be worse so probably. But that just means he’ll go from absolutely atrocious, to mediocre and another year of just mediocre performance won’t add much value to him since it will just push him deeper into his 30’s. When he was signed we all were aware that the final years of his contract will be in ‘boat anchor’ territory but the hope was that he had 2-4 good years left. Well, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Currently we have a 5+ million dollar player who can’t keep up, can’t score, rarely fights, shows poor leadership (dumps on other players in the media for their shortcomings but seems unable to acknowledge his own) and doesn’t want to be here. The ideal scenario is that Chirelli can somehow find a way to move him without taking back an equal or greater problem. I wish him luck with that.

    • Natejax97

      I find it funny that I get excited about moving him…when the reality is that it will just be another of many black eyes on free agents views of coming to Edmonton. When things go well you are a god but when things don’t go well you get run out of town. We are in the ranks of the habs when it comes to difficult markets to play in.

  • vetinari

    As a hypothetical (and this just pure speculation), if Carolina would flip you Faulk and Skinner for Lucic and Klefbom, would you do it? The salaries almost balance out (we eat about $400K on the difference), they get the players with the longer contracts while we get a winger and RD we can audition for a season or two. Thoughts?

    • Natejax97

      Klefbom…i love this player…and he is the best player in the deal so I think we would lose that trade…that said this is probably going to be what it takes…so you are on base with your proposal

    • TKB2677

      No way would I do that. The Oilers have cap issues already so if they take on both Faulk and Skinner, they would actually be taking on more money. Skinner & Faulk = 10.558 mill
      Lucic & Klefbom = 10.167 mill.

      Plus Skinner is a UFA at the end of the year so he will most likely be too expensive to resign.

      • DoubleOhhStoned

        doesn’t matter if skinner is a UFA at the end of the season. this trade is about getting rid of Lucic, and nothing more. Lucic is the problem. He’s over paid, underperforming, and wants out. Get rid of the problem and you win the trade. Frees up $6MM in cap space for the following season if Skinner walks. Edmonton already has one Skinner on the team. You don’t too many Skinners around. doesn’t sound good. It’s the Edmonton Oilers, not the Bowden Oilers.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          If Lucic got his 45 – 60 points again (which isn’t out of the question with a projected bounce back year) would he be worth the money in the short term? Now, with our running him out of town, he is of absolutely no value to us. My point is, if we had just let him bounce back (like most other fan-bases would have done) like most predict, his value would skyrocket & a value trade would be eminent. Now that we have drug his name through the dirt. He’s worthless…

      • Natejax97

        I think that’s the point…You trade 5 seasons at 6 million cap for 1 season of around 6 million and then see what we can do next summer. Klefbom is on a great contract for another 5 years and he would have to be replaced…

      • Carbonrod

        Edmonton’s problem isn’t Lucic’ bad contract, it is Sek and Russel’s and the other smaller overpays. Every team has bad contracts, we just have three that add up to 15.5 million when we are getting 8 million in value from the players. The insanity of it is that because we gave Russel an extra million a year and an NMC, we have to talk about moving Klefbom to open up cap room instead of the guy that really should go. If Sekera is ever the player he was 2 seasons ago it won’t hurt so bad and he will become more movable or even worth keeping, but the chances are low with his age and knee injury.

        • tanoslick

          Toss in Kassian (Carolina needs RW’ers) and Montoya (need a backup) and the deal is golden.
          Canes get a first rounder, ~ break even on actual salary this year (for 2 extra players) and up on cap hit by $4mm. Next year get $2mm more in cap hit than salary spent. Also all Canes d are R handed, opposite of Oilers problem so Sekera would be good #2 LD for them.
          Oilers cap nightmare is nearly over, wingers are miles better, d is set till Bouchard is ready.
          Sekera used to play in Carolina
          Skinner has turned down trades (wants to play with McDavid to max his next contract!)

    • DoubleOhhStoned

      Whatever it takes to get the disgruntled overpaid, underperforming player off the team. He’s not happy in Edmonton. His wife isn’t happy. He costs too much. Edmonton has no cap space, etc etc. He needs to go.

  • Carbonrod

    Trading the Lucic contract will be tough after his last year. It just depends on what we would have to give up to move him. We need our prospects and our 3 best d-men have to stay in my opinion. So we either get a bad contract back or we sweeten the deal with picks or players. Tough to win that trade.

    If we were to move him what do we bring in to improve the team for next year? Maybe Grabner and Reider?

      • Freddie the fog

        Sure let’s go back to getting pushed around again. Cause that worked out so good for Us before. Ya the contract stinks. Recent poll by Nhl players had Lucic ranked #2 behind Ryan Reaves for most feared player in the league. At least their’s some value in that. And Connor likes him on the team. We are not going to get a good return on Lucic …and roster spots need filling. Even if his line plays straight up on GF % , GA% against competition which is possible …their is value in that also.

  • Cowboy Bill

    My favorite rumor that I heard quite a while back was . Lucic to Florida for Jamie McGinn & Alex Petrovic . But Lucic and Faulk , two #27’s, trading places would be fine . It would free up a little more cap space so they might be able to sign a decent 4c , then JJ Khaira can help out on the wing or maybe they can resign Maroon . Who knows ?

  • Cowboy Bill

    My favorite rumor that I heard quite a while back was . Lucic to Florida for Jamie McGinn & Alex Petrovic . But Lucic and Faulk , two #27’s, trading places would be fine . It would free up a little more cap space so they might be able to sign a decent 4c , then JJ Khaira can help out on the wing or maybe they can resign Maroon . Who knows ?

  • StarvinBuffalo

    Wake up people! If we trade him to Arizona for a bag of pucks, WHAT A WIN! Honeslty, we have what, 4 million to sign four people?! This gets us the cap reflief to sign a winger who can actually play with Dri or Mcdavid. Or the ability to actually sign a decent winger or penalty killer who can help this team. I like Lucic but face it, we’re in cap hell and this bails us out. If we go into next season with this current roster, and our gm banking on bouchard to be the guy THEN THE SEASON IS ALREADY LOST! If Lucic gets traded I for one just got that much more excited about next season.

    • Freddie the fog

      Who are you going to get ? What r u giving up ? The FA list is brutal. And multiple teams are in on what little quality that their is. So your going to have to overpay and I can hear the groaning already. Ok let’s go back to a trade scenario…actually let’s not. Remember who is pulling the trigger on trades here.

  • What-a-Mike

    First off, to many postors here, Lucic was a UFA signing so if he is gone this summer then there was no such loss of a type traded asset here and that is a win for the Oilers cap space wise. Even with the Oilers paying just the bonus on July 1stbefore sending him away is a win. If Lucic stays with the promise of huge motivation then this is also a win for the Oilers because a mean tough winger for of 50 points plus …. because he is here to be productive, he protects McDavid & others (along with Nurse, Khaira, Kassian etc.,)his value certainly increases. What is also a win is that both Sekera and Russell are tradeable next summer albeit with limited trade spots and that becomes a win as well with another possible $9 plus million dollars to drop of the payroll cap space wise. Lucic strikes me as a guy who hates to fail and look bad so if he stays I can certainly see him more greatly focused to play much better. The only one real bad thing right now would be that Lucic stays and somehow even plays worse (truly unlikely I think) or the Oilers get rid of Lucic as of July 1st but take on a worse player with a bad contract who then is unmovable for more than three more years minimum. So in essence, I believe the Oilers are in a seemingly better position right now with the probability that Lucic is okaying a move. We wait with anticipation to find out is next couple of days don’t we.

  • DavidMcDavid

    Previous chatter indicated that the Oilers would only move Lucic in a “hockey trade” versus a cap dump. If that is true, I hope we have explored Skinner and Pacioretty as options. Even if we have to add incentive in the form of a non-1st round draft pick – taking on either player provides one year cap relief, adds a true top 6 winger, the opportunity to re-sign the player for next year when the cap moves up, and moves Lucic to teams that we seem to be rumoured to be dealing with and are looking for more “character” types. Outside of a move like that, I don’t see the point in dumping Lucic’s contract at a low value point and then gambling on another UFA signing an overpriced contract to come to EDM.

  • ROILYDoGG$

    We went to the playoffs the year before with chia and our team he built. Then we hit hit with injuries to half the team, a and personal issues and poor performances now edm calls for everyone’s heads. Lighten up people.
    This happens now with the league being very competitive. Chicago , LA , Colorado , they don’t make the playoffs then the next year they do. It’s a pattern not a reason to blow the team up. Keep adding pieces. It’s the steady Eddie that wins this race.
    Don’t forget we beat Vegas and some other good teams this year yet they made it to the finals and we didn’t. Lots of factors to consider.
    Grab a few cheap Ufa and keep developing our prospects maybe trade russel next year if bear or Bouchard(depth finally) nhl ready but this year I say we stay the course.

  • What-a-Mike

    I have to add to my prior post that, in addition to being an Oilers win with Lucic to staying an getting 50 points plus this coming season, the other such anticipation I have for of excitement and a win (as an Oiler fan), is watching and seeing Lucic and Calgary’s Mike Smith going at it again for round two…lol

    • Señor Frijoles

      They signed Lucic as a free agent, meaning he cost them only the money they pay him. If/when they trade him away, *anything* they get back is gravy.

      • Freddie the fog

        This is simply not true . Follow along. Pete knew he had Lucic before ink even went to paper. Out goes Taylor Hall. That trade does not happen unless Pete thinks he has cover in that LW position. As it turns out the cost is quite significant. That’s the rub to people saying ” no cost “

  • Señor Frijoles

    Love the picture chosen for the article … I’ve never particularly liked Lucic and I really didn’t like the Oilers signing him, but I sure liked him the day he punched that smug doofus Mike Smith.

    • Freddie the fog

      Hell ya. Have a feeling you’ll see more of that if he’s back for another year. And after hearing most of these ridiculous proposals I gotta think he’s on the Roster opening night. It’s ONE player. I would suggest a BUNCH of guys need to perform better than last year.

  • Big Nuggets

    Well Lucic has a boat anchor contract and was bad last year. trading him would be a good scenario but the prospect of keeping him is actually growing on me. He will be better next season, he is still a tough dude that throws a lot of hits. He should get easier to move as time goes on. We can get cap space next offseason when we can trade Sekera so the Lucic contract will not cripple the team, this year notwithstanding. And I’m curious what a season of angry Lucic will look like.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I keep seeing comments saying anything we get back for him is a positive, because we signed him as a free agent (for no assets). While that is true, we gave up no assets to ACQUIRE him, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE UP ASSETS to ship him out…be that cap space, draft picks, a better player, etc… I truly worry about what this deal might look like at the end of the day – hoping for the best, but expecting far less unfortunately.