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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Milan Lucic arrived at camp six pounds lighter

Milan Lucic scored 10 goals and 34 points last season for the Oilers. As you can probably remember it was a very disappointing season for the fans and himself. It’s an understatement to say that Lucic had an off year, and I feel for the guy. By going through a slump, not only is he not feeling right on the ice, but he wasn’t feeling right off the ice. I know my confident is shot after missing a few tosses in a row when playing laundry basketball with my socks; I couldn’t imagine what the big guy was going through last year after his poor season.

We were all hoping that Milan Lucic would return to main camp this season in better shape, and with a better attitude. Fortunately for us and him, it looks like that’s what happened. Lucic has only played one preseason game so far so I can’t speak much from my personal viewpoint of what I’ve seen from him. He didn’t look bad in his only game played, and he did pot a goal. Hopefully scoring right out of the gate is a good confidence boost for him.

Anyways, the reason I’m writing this article is because Peter Chiarelli spoke about Lucic on Toronto’s TSN 1050 earlier this morning and Chris Nichols captured a good quote from the interview.

“Physically six pounds lighter… The speed and agility testing we have four tests – I would probably say from last year to this year between 45 and 60 percent improvement. Significant improvement. You know those pro agility tests, those shuttle runs – significant improvement. You can see it on the ice.”

This is a breath of fresh air coming from Peter Chiarelli. Not only is it good news for the Oilers and the fans, but also for Lucic’s well-being. This is his career after all and we’re paying him a ton of money, so I’m glad to hear he’s been working hard on his game.

“Mentally, he’s told me he’s in a good spot. All his practices have been good. He’s on the power play, he’s making plays with the high-end guys, so I’m happy where he is. So that’s all I can say on him.”

I mean, this does kind of fall under the category of how ALL players come back to camp in the “best shape of their life” and at a much lower weight. I’m currently drinking all the Oilers hype juice I can right now so I’m not going to discredit Lucic. I’m going to give him the fair chance he deserves and then judge him after ten games.

I’m really hoping he can pull it together this season, and I really hope he can contribute to our playoff push or else it’s going to be another long offseason for him and the rest of us. All of us over at Oilersnation are rooting for him, and I hope the rest of the fanbase is too.

Milan Lucic’s last three seasons

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2015-16 Los Angeles Kings NHL 81 20 35 55 79 26 5 0 3 3 4
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

 

  • boil-in-the-oil

    I’m certainly cheering for the guy…I think we all “want” him to improve and contribute millions of dollars worth of goals & assists. Fingers crossed.

    • Opi

      The Flames & hapless Oil are a study in contrast up front. The Flames have depth at every forward position. The Oil have McDavid. Chia has been decimating the Oilers’ strength on wing since his arrival. If Looch doesn’t rebound after a dreadful season and if Pulu doesn’t take a firm step forward, the Oilers will have exactly one legitimate top-six winger on the roster … converted centerman Hyphen. Any sort of injury or more off-seasons spells trouble for the Oil.

      • fasteddy

        There is no such thing as a team full of great players at all positions. Yes wings have slipped, but before we were all screaming for D and C…..can’t have it all regardless if you agree or disagree with moves made to date.

      • Oilfan_81

        The Oilers 8-3 record over the Flames in the past 2 seasons says you’re wrong (as usual). Back to Sportsnet Dopi. The conversation here is too advanced for you.

      • HOCKEY83

        The Flames are every bit as hapless as the oil are. Every year we hear how good the Flames are on paper and yet every year it doesn’t translate to the ice. It doesn’t matter who the flames have added to the team until they prove on the ice they can get it done. They haven’t been able to get it done for a number of years now. I wouldn’t count the Oilers out at all. McDavid, Draisaitle and Nugent Hopkins will all be great as usual and I’m assuming if Nuge gets to stay on McDavid’s line he will have a career year. I also think that Puljujarvi, Nurse, Klefbom and Larsson will all take steps forward this season in their careers. Yamo looks like he will make the roster which is another great addition. Talbot will be better. Looch will be better…how can he not be. Rattie will be a huge surprise on that top line. It seems the loss of Sekera was turned into a monster and I think it will be a good thing in the end that he’s gone. Any injuries or off-seasons spells trouble for any team in the league. All the Flames need for a lost season is to have Smith go down as they have no one to replace him.

      • Derian Hatcher

        Lots of IFS there…what IF mike smith gets hurt again this year? Perhaps there should be just as much concern about your own back yard. Just sayin.

  • CMG30

    I’ve been pretty critical of the Lucic experiment by the Oilers brass, but I hope that he puts in one heck of a comeback season. He’s going to be one of the keys to getting back to the post season!

  • Hemmercules

    Good news. Sounds like he spent some time this summer improving himself. I look forward to the first big hit he drops on some poor soul.

    I’m feeling pretty ok about the team at the moment. Cautiously optimistic. If the goalies can improve their save percentage a bit I think the team will be alright.

  • FanBoy

    If he gives us 20G 25A which he was on pace for last year, he lives up to his contract, simple as that. Lucic had a bad HALF season, he’s no bum, if he’s traded, he’s no contract dump. It’s only a bad half season, no idea why some here are saying his career is done.

    45 points and millions of crunching hits and he is worth his contract.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      totally agree 11seasons in the NHL good for around 45-50 points avg, and 3.5 bad months…
      If you think back, you were probably as excited as I was when he signed here?
      I feel that a bit again… It’s great…

  • elliotsmom

    I definitely hope Lucic has a great recovery from last season and gets his game, mindset and confidence back to where it needs to be. Bring the swagger and demolishing hits back to the ice. Remember the pride.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Lucic will be under a microscope, no matter whether he stays with the Oil or he still wants to go elsewhere, it is up to Lucic to do a hell of a lot better this season than he did last season. Most Oiler fans want Lucic to do well because when he is vested in the games he can be a force, if Lucic wants a trade the only thing that will get him one is to play a hell of a lot better, so The team needs him to be better, Lucic needs to be better, and any potential suitors that will have an interest in him need to see him play better.

    I dont see Lucic getting traded, too much money and term and Chia doesnt seem to be able to do the deals other GM’s have when it comes to bad contracts or contracts with a lot of term and dollars on them ( christ Chia pissed away a buyout doing Gryba’s contract and Gryba’s contract wasnt really much to buy out ) Unless Chia gives up some assets Lucic isnt going anywhere and the only other out I could see is a buyout, I dodnt think Chia wants to do that and I dont think Lucic would want that either, I thin k Lucic would rather be his old self and see what can come about from there.

    Lets hope things go well for Lucic, I sure hope he does better, if Lucic can get on a line with a good fit and gel then that will help everyone especially him.

  • toprightcorner

    I don’t know who the “everyone” was that was hoping Lucic would come to camp in better shape, but shape and conditioning was never his issue. If you want to say a step quicker, fine, but to tell a guy with 7% body fat to get in better shape stupid.

    I am pulling for him and it is his mental strength that I hope he bolstered over the summer.

  • OilerForLife

    All Lucic has to do is improve a reasonable amount, because it appears we’ve added three players to our top 6. Jesse Puljujärvi is outstanding it’s like night and day from last year. Kailer Yamamoto fell into our laps at the draft, nice work Gretzky. Our pro scouts did a fantastic job in signing Rattie, and our system developed a player who didn’t succeed on another team. When was the last time the Oilers did that, outstanding. Can’t wait for the start of the season!

    • Big Nuggets

      If Rattie succeeds it is because he realizes the opportunity in front of him and grabs it. You can give the pro scouts some credit for adding a depth RW, but I doubt they expected him to gel with McDavid and run with it. It is great that he had his run at the end of the season and had all summer to work out and prepare for his best shot at becoming an NHLer.

      • OilerForLife

        Rattie was signed to the Bakersfield Condors for a season. At 24 it was not a given that his career was over, and it was wise to give him a shot in Bakersfield. I believe that they discovered a late bloomer, and it was wise to bring him up at the end of the year to have a look see, he earned it. How many times have the Oilers traded a player too early and then he excels on another team. If the Oilers organization has to be the goat in this situation, then they can certainly take credit when the reverse happens. A lot of the credit of course goes to Rattie for doing it, because no matter where you get drafted a player has to develop after they got drafted. I remember fans of other teams laughed after the Oilers signed him to Bakersfield. It also the onus of a player to improve and not give up, and Rattie took the bull by the horns and run with in. This is just the preseason, but he’s made a believer out of me.