|Milan Lucic denies having agreed in principle with Oilers||06.28.16 at 5:56 pm ET|
Though he visited the team on Tuesday, Milan Lucic told WEEI.com Tuesday that a report that he’s agreed in principle with the Oilers is “bull [rest-of-the-word].”
“I haven’t agreed or signed to anything yet,” Lucic added.
Former Edmonton Journal writer Curtis Stock initially reported that Lucic had chosen the Oilers as his next team.
I understand Lucic signed with Oiler’s. He’s another piece the oilers needed
— Curtis Stock (@CurtisJStock) June 28, 2016
Got it from a good source. Announcement on July 1
— Curtis Stock (@CurtisJStock) June 28, 2016
Though Lucic insists nothing is agreed to yet, Edmonton should still be considered among the favorites to sign Lucic when free agency opens Friday. Another possible destination is Lucic’s hometown Canucks.
The NHL’s interview, which opened Saturday at midnight, is for teams to have general discussions with free-agents-to-be to get a sense of what type of deal they seek. It is not considered a time for negotiations and finalizing contracts, however.
|Milan Lucic open to reuniting with Peter Chiarelli with Oilers||06.23.16 at 8:29 pm ET|
BUFFALO — With Milan Lucic headed for free agency, one potential fit that’s been thrown around is the Oilers. Why? Because there’s a guy who works there who already has experience paying Lucic a lot of money.
So would Lucic, who spent last season with the Kings but could not come to terms on an extension, be interested in reuniting with Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton?
“I’m open to them,” Lucic told WEEI.com Thursday. “Open to all my options heading into July 1.”
Lucic, who spent the first eight years of his career in Boston, was traded to the Kings prior to last year’s draft in exchange for the 13th overall pick, Martin Jones and Colin Miller. He had 20 goals and 35 assists for 55 points over 81 games in his lone season in Los Angeles.
|Bruins make it ‘special’ night for Milan Lucic, allow most shots in 51 years||02.10.16 at 1:47 am ET|
The most goals allowed by the Bruins in a game since 2008.
The most shots allowed in a game by the Bruins since 1965.
That’s 1965, 51 years ago, the year civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, were attacked by state troopers. Lyndon Johnson was president. Johnny Bucyk was in his prime at 29 years of age.
To say that former Bruins winger Milan Lucic and L.A. did a number on Boston Tuesday night at TD Garden in a 9-2 Kings victory would be quite the understatement.
“You’re here win a game, you know?” Lucic said with a chuckle when asked if it felt awkward to beat his former mates so decisively. “You win by one, you win by seven it doesn’t matter, a win’s a win. I guess you can’t feel too bad. You come in here and try to get those bragging rights and have it over your former teammates. It was a full team effort from the net out and I was glad to get that win.”
|Milan Lucic says he knew future with Bruins depended on last season||02.09.16 at 12:42 pm ET|
This is Milan Lucic‘s first season with the Kings and he hopes it isn’t his last.
In addition to adjusting to a new team, Lucic also has to play with the added distraction of being in the final year of his contract. Different players handle contract years differently — some post tremendous money in hopes of a huge pay day; some let the uncertainty consume them and ultimately detract from their play — and Lucic is just trying to put it out of his mind.
Interestingly enough, however, Lucic indicated Tuesday that last season saw more of those pressures get to him than this season. Though last season was the second year of a three-year, $18 million deal, Lucic knew that his future with the team depended on that season. He turned out to be correct, as the Bruins dealt him in the offseason rather than taking him into the last year of his contract.
“I think I focused on it a little bit too much, especially in the first half of the the season, just the goals and the assists and the individual stuff,” Lucic said. “Sometimes when things come up like a contract, it’s hard to ignore those king of things. That’s why I think when I stopped focusing on that and just worried about the things that mattered like winning hockey games, everything else kind of just fell into place. I tried to take that same mentality into this year.”
Lucic, 27, scored 24 or more goals three times with the Bruins. His numbers took a dip last season when he posted 18 goals, and he’s currently on pace for 19 goals. Even if he fails to hit the 20-goal mark for a second straight season, he will be an attractive option for either the Kings to re-sign (far from a certainty given cap constraints) or for another team to court on the open market.
The Kings currently sit atop the Pacific Division with 65 points through 51 games. They have less than $3 million in cap space this season despite the fact that they are only paying a little more than half of Lucic’s $6 million cap hit (the Bruins retained about $2.49 million cap-wise in the trade). Los Angeles does not have a ton of money coming off the books, while next season will see star center Anze Kopitar’s cap hit rise from $6.8 million to $10 million.
Despite all the uncertainty, Lucic says that he’s doing a better job of handling the unknown than he did a season ago.
“I’m just focusing on the things that I can control, and that’s helping the team win,” Lucic said. “I haven’t really been focusing too much on goals and assists and what I need to do to sign a big deal or anything like that. I’ve just been focused on winning hockey games and things like that. I think that’s kind of helped my play so far throughout the season.”
Added Lucic: “Looking at the team, we do have a real great team here with a real great chance here to be a contender. I’m just focusing more on that than the individual stuff.”
You know you came up in a veteran organization when you’re set the play the team months after being traded and you only know “a couple” players on the team. That’s the case for Colin Miller as the Bruins prepare to take on the Kings at TD Garden.
Miller, who was drafted by the Kings in 2012, won the Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs last season before being traded to Boston in the Milan Lucic trade.
“I know a couple of guys on the team,” Miller said Tuesday. “Obviously I wasn’t up there at all, so I know a couple of guys on the team and have been around them in training camp and stuff like that, but there are definitely a couple of buddies that I’ll be watching tonight.”
Ah, yes. Watching. Unfortunately for Miller, he appears to be the odd man out on defense for Tuesday, as he stayed out after morning skate along with injured defenseman Adam McQuaid. If Miller is out for Tuesday, he’ll join Steven Kampfer (scratched vs. his hometown Red Wings in the 2010-11 season) as defensemen Claude Julien has sat in sentimental moments. Miller, who was scratched Saturday as well, didn’t seem especially hurt by potentially sitting against his former organization.
“It’s always fun playing against an old team that you know, but we’ll see what happens here tonight,” Miller said. “It will be a good game either way.”
Here is the anticipated lineup for Tuesday, based on morning skate:
|Matt Beleskey: ‘I’m not Milan Lucic’||at 10:59 am ET|
Bruins forward Matt Beleskey has similar numbers to Milan Lucic a season ago, but he’s trying to avoid the comparison to the former Bruin.
“He’s a great player. If anyone put me in that [class] I’d take it, but like I said [when I came here] I’m not Milan Lucic,” Beleskey said Monday. “I won’t be that player. I’m different. I’m my own player and that’s the way I’ve been playing all year.”
Beleskey, who signed a five-year contract worth $3.8 million annually this offseason to replace Lucic, has nearly identical goals per 60 (.68) to what Lucic had in his final season in Boston (.70). He currently finds himself in a scoring slump that’s seen him score just one goal in his last 16 games, a slump that Lucic himself had last season.
Claude Julien said he’s happy with Beleskey, whom he feels the Bruins signed for his physicality rather than raw numbers.
“It’s his production that’s maybe thrown things off a little bit,” Julien said Monday. “Do people have the right view of what he is as a player vs. looking at last year’s stats and thinking that’s what it should be or even better. We knew what we were getting. We were getting a guy that, [after] losing Lucic, would give us some grit, would be able to contribute offensively here and there as well. So far he’s given us that. To me, he’s a player that, when you look at our group up front, he’s a player that we really need.”
To read more on Beleskey’s season and how it compares to Lucic’s final season in Boston, click here for Monday’s story.
|A look at how former Bruins have started with new teams||10.16.15 at 1:09 pm ET|
The Bruins’ changes this summer meant familiar faces are gone and new ones have arrived. Though the B’s can’t be happy with their start, it’s also been a mixed bag for those to whom they bid adieu.
Jimmy Hayes’ four-point performance on Wednesday aside, Boston’s newcomers have been slow to get adjusted. Here’s a look at how the former Bruins have started with their new teams:
Milan Lucic, Kings: It’s been a very quiet start for both the Kings (0-3-0) and Lucic. Through three games, Lucic has landed just two shots on goal. The bad news there is that he has zero points, but the good news is that he’s one point away from tying for the team lead. He played the first two games on a line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, but the Kings have since pulled the plug on that experiment. Lucic is now skating with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.
Dougie Hamilton, Flames: Playing on what should be a stellar top pairing with T.J. Brodie out, Hamilton and Mark Giordano haven’t had the hottest start together. Though Hamilton scored a power-play goal in Calgary‘s second game of the season, he’s been on the ice for just one even-strength goal for and four goals against. All four of those goals came on shifts played with Giordano.
Martin Jones, Sharks: Though only Bruins property for less than five days, it’s worth including Jones here for the sake of justifying what looked like a rather odd trade at the time. After getting Jones in the Lucic trade, the Bruins got the Sharks to surrender a first-round pick and a prospect (Sean Kuraly) for the former Kings backup goaltender. So far, the deal hasn’t looked like as much of a steal for the Bruins as it did back in June. Jones has been absolutely lights-out with two shutouts and a .987 save percentage in three starts for San Jose.
Carl Soderberg, Avalanche: Wednesday night saw Soderberg’s former teammates make his new contract look not-so-good. Soderberg was on the ice for goals by Boston’s second, third and fourth lines. The 30-year-old center had assists in each of Colorado’s first two games.
Reilly Smith, Panthers: Smith’s doing a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including killing penalties after never being used in that role as a Bruin. Smith has a pair of goals (both of which he scored in his Panthers debut) and an assist through four games on a line with Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri.
Gregory Campbell, Blue Jackets: The former Merlot-Liner is averaging a little under 11 minutes a night through four games with Columbus and so far the results haven’t been great. His line is getting outscored (three goals against, none for) and Campbell has managed just one shot on net.
Matt Bartkowski, Canucks: Bartkowski has suited up in all four of the Canucks’ games after being in and out of Boston’s lineup over the years. He’s been used on Vancouver’s second pairing with Dan Hamhuis, which has held up well despite its poor possession numbers. He has an assist on the season, but he’s still looking for his first regular-season goal 135 games into his career.
Daniel Paille, Rockford IceHogs (AHL): After spending training camp with the Blackhawks on a professional tryout, the 31-year-old left wing went to Chicago’s AHL camp before signing with the IceHogs. He’s played one game for them, recording no points.
Niklas Svedberg, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL): Svedberg went to the KHL after a statistically decent showing with the Bruins, but one that saw the B’s lose confidence in him and stop playing him. So far, Claude Julien appears to have been in the right. Svedberg has an .887 save percentage in 19 games in Russia.
Peter Chiarelli, Oilers: It’s going to be a while before the Oilers are competitive. That they had to play the Blues twice in their first four games makes their 0-4-0 start less than surprising.