The past season was Milan Lucic’s first season as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and it appears as if it could very well have been his last.
If Lucic isn’t signed to a new deal by the Kings by July 1, the 28-year-old power forward will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Though there had been talk about Los Angeles extending Lucic’s contract both during the season and after the Kings were eliminated from the post-season, it appears the two sides are either further apart than first believed or that Los Angeles could be going another direction.
During an interview Monday with Vancouver’s NEWS 1130, Lucic’s agent, Gerry Johannson, said that the Kings and his client haven’t spoken recently and, with less than a month to go until free agency opens, Lucic is preparing to hit the open market.
"Milan Lucic would love to re-sign with the Kings but is preparing for July 1 as well," Johannson told NEWS 1130.
If Lucic does indeed hit the open market, he’s almost assuredly going to land a deal similar to the three-year, $18-million contract he inked with the Boston Bruins in September 2012. While he’s not exactly coming off of consecutive 25-plus-goal, 60-plus-point seasons like he was when he signed that three-year contract, Lucic has proven he can be a consistent 20-goal, 50-point threat. Add into it his skill-set, which includes his ability to thrive when games get more physical, and Lucic is going to have suitors.
One such team chasing Lucic will almost certainly be the Canucks, and there’s an obvious connection for Lucic, a Vancouver native. Johannson said Lucic is expecting to hear from a lot of teams, and it’s possible the Canucks will top his list of destinations. Vancouver will likely have to offer a competitive salary, though, because Lucic will definitely have his pick of landing spots.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun recently reported the Edmonton Oilers will likely be among those chasing Lucic, and saddling up beside Connor McDavid could be an intriguing option for the veteran. That’s not to mention Lucic has some ties to the Oilers, too, as former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli — who was Boston’s GM when Lucic was drafted — is currently running Edmonton’s front office.
This past season, Lucic scored 20 goals and 55 points with the Kings while skating 17:14 per night. In the post-season, Lucic added three assists in five games. Per CapFriendly, of the UFA left wingers available this off-season, Lucic’s 20 goals ranked third-best behind Jamie McGinn and Andrew Ladd, but Lucic’s 55 points were the most of any UFA at his position.