|Milan Lucic signs with Oilers||07.01.16 at 1:10 pm ET|
Though other suitors made their pushes, Milan Lucic’s time as a free agent was predictably short-lived before he reunited with Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton. The former Bruins left winger, who turned 28 last month, received a seven-year, $42 million deal from the Oilers.
Lucic, who has had the likes of David Krejci and Anze Kopitar as his centers, will now play with generational talent Connor McDavid.
“It was him and Peter,” Lucic told WEEI.com after signing. “I wanted to be part of something special.”
The Oilers brought in Lucic for a free agent visit earlier this week, at which point it was reported that the sides had agreed in principle to a deal. Lucic denied that and continued to field offers from other teams before ultimately settling in Edmonton.
|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.