Just when we thought the Milan Lucic trade rumours had died down, Frank Seravalli jumped on Lowetide’s radio show yesterday and stirred the pot up once again.
After sliding through the last few weeks with next to no Lucic news or rumblings aside from Andy Strickland suggesting the Oilers had a deal in place, Frank Seravalli kicked things off again yesterday after he appeared on Lowetide’s radio show. This time around, the TSN insider made the Lucic rumour seem like more than just a guy being unhappy about where he’s at and more like a situation that the Oilers need to deal with sooner than later. Let’s break it down.
“I’m concerned about the Milan Lucic situation.”
You and me both, buddy. We need the dude to bounce back if the Oilers actually plan on getting back into the playoffs. Another 10-goal season just won’t cut it, ya know?
“I mean, you talk about Erik Karlsson and what a mess that has been in Ottawa, and you talk about Jeff Skinner and the fact that he hasn’t been traded from Carolina, and Justin Faulk and some other guys where you feel like the can has been kicked so far down the road. I don’t think Milan Lucic is really in all that different of a category when you consider what he’s gone through and really the position the Oilers are in. It’s almost untenable.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa stop the clock. Let’s not put Milan Lucic anywhere near the same category as what’s going on with Erik Karlsson, alright? Pretty sure none of the Oilers were allegedly sending his wife chirps about the worst tragedy of their lives so I don’t really see how that’s comparable. Sure, I can understand that the big man could be unhappy based on things outside of the rink that I’ve heard, but those rumours don’t even come close to what’s going down in Ottawa. Not close. Full stop. Anyway… Sorry, go on…
“My understanding is, from what we reported weeks ago, is that Milan Lucic is open to finding a new home somewhere else. He’s the one who holds a lot of these cards with the no-trade clause, and my understanding is that he’s interested and willing to go to a new destination, particularly if he can get to a U.S. market.”
Okay, so Looch would be happier going somewhere with a little more anonymity — I get that. Being rich and famous is cool, but being rich and anonymous is way cooler. But just because the guy could be looking for greener pastures doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen, or that it’s going to break the dressing room if he doesn’t get his way. At least, I hope not anyway.
“The question is if the Oilers can somehow find a way to do that and is there a push from any other teams to try and make a move like that.”
If the Oilers have to push Lucic out the door then it’s probably not a trade worth making. I mean, I was pretty hard on Looch last season and deservedly so, but have you looked at the depth chart for wingers? Chances are, if the Oilers push him out the door then they’re going to get absolutely dogshit back in return and I don’t see how that helps considering the best free agent options to plug that hole are already gone.
“Now that we’ve gotten past free agency, it almost seems like the urgency kind of falls off a cliff. So what happens in that situation?”
Well, then I guess he would come back to Edmonton to honour the contract he signed, no?
“I just can’t imagine going into next season with all the issues they had to close out last season more or less and Peter Chiarelli basically saying, ‘Well, it’s up to you guys to figure it out.’ I mean, that’s not really how it works. It’s up to the manager to figure out a solution and find a way to make this team better. Because this team, on paper at least, certainly isn’t better.”
What issues are you talking about? First, Frank was talking about Lucic being an issue and now he’s making it seem like there are multiple issues that need to be fixed or else the world could implode on itself. Frankly, I think the special teams and first shot goals were a huge problem last year, but are we supposed to blame Lucic for all of that too? It doesn’t make sense. And to think that they would have to sweeten the pot just to get rid of him would be ridiculous unless we can kick in some Oodle Noodle GCs to make something happen.
“The Oilers don’t have a lot of sweeteners to sending around. They don’t have a treasure trove of candy to be handing out. This isn’t Halloween.”
Unrelated, but did you know that there are set Halloweening hours in Two Hills and sometimes they make kids trick or treat on a day other than Halloween depending on the actual day it falls on? Weird right? Sorry, Frank, sometimes I get distracted. Go on.
“Part of it too is probably some stubbornness on the Oilers part saying, ‘Well, wait a second, why do we need to add this?’ Getting hung up on how exactly much of a sweetener there would need to be, given that he’s not that far removed from a productive season to start his career in Edmonton. So I think it’s one of those really tough situations.”
Right, so why trade him this year if it means giving up even more value just to do it? If some team is like, “okay we’ll take Lucic but you need to give us Puljujarvi or something” then you don’t do it and try again next year. By no means am I the biggest Lucic fanboy and getting rid of that contract would be a big cap help, but losing yet another trade is not going to help this team win.
“I don’t think there is any question in my mind that the Oilers are a better team without him.”
Holy hell. What is going on here?
“Moving forward, they need to get faster and they can’t have someone dragging them down, and certainly someone they’re going to be paying that much on the salary cap. So whatever it takes to make it happen.”
Whatever it takes? I’ll have to disagree.
So far this summer, we’ve talked about Milan Lucic being traded more often than basically anything else and it’s gotten to the point where I have a hard time believing that he’ll be moved. Whether or not you believe he’s asked for a trade is irrelevant at this point, the guy has a huge contract remaining and it seems unlikely that the Oilers could get anything in return that will help them win now, especially considering we’ve made it through the draft and the bulk of free agency. With that in mind, it also seems unlikely that he’ll be anywhere but Edmonton by the time October rolls around. Or would the plan be to just trade him and have empty cap space again like they did last year? Wouldn’t be a great plan if you ask me.
What confuses me here is that Seravalli seems so set on the Oilers needing to move Lucic and he’s not the kind of guy to make this stuff up. This isn’t Eklund we’re talking about, so what gives? What is really happening? I could understand the continued chatter if the draft and free agency hadn’t yet passed but they have and, at this point in the summer, teams are generally set outside of a few minor tweaks here and there. I know that we’re still waiting on the Karlsson trade and the Skinner trade and some other deals like that to play out, and maybe a Lucic deal is dependant on what happens with those guys, but it would seem like a stretch that someone is waiting to see what happens with Karlsson before pulling the trigger for Milan Lucic. Maybe I’m wrong? Gord knows it’s happened plenty of times before.
At the end of the day, whatever happens will happen but the idea that the Oilers would be a better team without Lucic at this stage in the offseason seems like a bit much unless there’s some serious Dr. Claw shit happening around him that is taking the wind out of the team’s sails. If that is truly the case then sure they would be wise to move on, but if it’s not then they would probably be better off hoping that he can rebound a little bit and look to revisit things again next summer.
What do you guys think?