While the Edmonton Oilers are focused on what to do next with their 10th overall pick prior to tonight's NHL Entry draft, another pressing matter is weighing on their mind during the busy weekend in Dallas. While meeting with the media on Thursday, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli mentioned once again he is open for business to move his 10th pick for more immediate help, but he refused to comment on Milan Lucic.
When the Edmonton Oilers general manager was asked whether Lucic had asked to be traded, he said he, “wouldn’t comment on that.”
However, it did not stop some reporters, including David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, to get the breaking news out that Lucic is willing to be traded. Of course, the main point remains how much of his hefty salary the Oilers will be willing to absorb in a transaction.
While Lucic’s Edmonton-based agent Gerry Johannson isn’t talking, Pagnotta warns us that the trade watch is on for today.
However, there is another note to be made as pointed out by Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: if anybody wants Lucic, who has five years left with a $6 million cap hit, it won’t be at the draft because the Oilers owe him a $3.5-million bonus to be paid on July 1.
While Chiarelli claims he has not lost his faith in Lucic, we could see a move in the coming weeks for his services. Of course, his value has diminished this season as Lucic struggled with every aspect of the game. Lucic initially signed a seven-year deal with the Oilers and he now has five more years left on that contract, any team looking to acquire him would be sacrificing $6 million against the cap over the course of those next five seasons. There's another complication as well for the Oilers as well: Chiarelli gave Lucic a full no movement clause when he signed his deal. That means that Lucic is in full control of the situation here...
“My confidence level is pretty high (in Lucic). He’s a high character individual. He has to have a good summer. Conditioning for him isn’t really an issue but he has to be in the right frame of mind,” said Chiarelli to the Edmonton Journal. “He’s a proud guy and we’d like to have him back at a better level than he was at last year.”
Recently, NHL insider on Sportsnet Elliotte Friedman noted the Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers had interest in Lucic when he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent two years ago, suggesting the Oilers should approach them first on a potential trade. Friedman also explained how it's believed that Lucic might prefer a trade to a non-Canadian club.