Four years ago today, the Edmonton Oilers signed Milan Lucic to a seven-year, $6-million AAV contract.
From day one more than enough people in Edmonton knew the contract would end in a dumpster fire and more than enough people were right about that. Lucic lasted three less-than-good years in Edmonton before he was traded to the Calgary Flames for James Neal.
But, as we do, it’s always important to look back at things in hindsight.
Lucic’s contract was a dagger for the Oilers. Then GM Peter Chiarelli locked up a 28-year-old Lucic to a deal that was far too long, and paid him too much money. It was a really tough deal that made the Oilers salary cap difficult to navigate for the team. It led to the likes of guys like Jordan Eberle being shipped out for pennies on the dollar.
Now we have to remember that Lucic did a solid job in his first season, an “okay” job in his second year, and a dismal job in his third year. So in hindsight, in a perfect world, what would have a better contract been for Milan Lucic at the time?
He just came off a 55 point season with the LA Kings, near his career-high of 62 points scored in 2010-11, and was still showing he could contribute on a nightly basis playing 17:14 a night.
So it’s not as if the Oilers were getting a terrible player off the hop, but given what we know about player curves and the dip that begins to happen for most players in their late 20’s and into their early 30’s, it was clear the contract wouldn’t work out long term.
Lucic’s first year saw him score 50 points in 82 games, in year two he scored 34 points in 82 games, and in year three, his last, 20 points in 79 games.
Now when we look back, it’s suffice to say he was able to give Edmonton two good years and that’s all that the Oilers should’ve paid him for. A two-year deal worth $5-$6-million would’ve been the best deal Edmonton could’ve gave him.
Lucic, of course, was looking for long-term security wanting to be set up for his family in the future and you can’t blame him for that. He could’ve got that security somewhere else, like in Montreal, where rumours arose they offered him more money over a similar term to Edmonton.
But Chiarelli jumped at the chance to bring in a former player from Boston for a deal that was far too long.
On Twitter: @zjlaing