The Boston Bruins have positioned themselves as a strong playoff contender with just a few areas to improve prior to the trade deadline. For several weeks now, general manager Don Sweeney is said to be looking to boost his team up front with a veteran left winger, and thinking of adding a quality defenseman who can eat up some minutes for captain Zdeno Chara and rookie Charlie McAvoy.
While the Bruins' needs often link them to the Edmonton Oilers, who are reportedly listening to offers on Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, another player seems to be the perfect fit in Boston. And yes, we are talking former Big Bad Bruin Milan Lucic.
The veteran left winger was traded from Boston to the Los Angeles Kings for Colin Miller, Martin Jones and a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, who turned out to be Jakub Zboril in the summer of 2015. A year later, he signed with the Oilers a hefty seven-year contract that carries a $6 million cap hit annually.
Fans in Boston have always loved Lucic, and so did the organization. Ahead of a playoff run, the 29-year-old winger has proven he has leadership, experience and grit that is always useful for the Bruins as they move forward in the postseason.
Lucic could surely benefit from a change of scenery. On Thursday night, his goal drought hit 20 games as the Oilers lost 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. He has tallied nine goals and 30 points in 56 contests this season and has now been held without a point in each of his past nine games.
"When Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers embraced the term and the money that was required to bring Milan Lucic to Edmonton, they knew that at some point in the contract it was gonna look ugly. They just couldn't predict that it would happen as quickly as this," first explained Hockey Insider Darren Dreger told TSN Radio Edmonton 1260.
"He was brought in for a number of reasons, starting with character and to play a somewhat deterrent role to go along with his ability to be a very good power forward in today’s NHL. The problem is he can't keep up with Connor McDavid, so he's not really a strong option on that line. Where do you play him below that? Lucic is incredibly proud. His lack of offence I know isn't sitting well with him. He wants to earn every penny of his contract and unfortunately, in the moment, that's not going well for him.
"What do they do with it? Way too early for that. I think that they're at least a year out before that becomes a realistic issue."
If the Bruins don't jump on the opportunity to acquire him prior to the trade deadline, they could investigate the option during the summer. Lucic might be even more appealing as he revealed he wants to lose weight in the offseason to become a faster player, though it might be quite a challenge for the gritty forward.
"I know I have to do that but I’m a big-boned person. When we were in L.A., we did a test where they’d give you your bone mass. A regular one was eight pounds for an athlete and I was 11 pounds,” Lucic explained to the Edmonton Journal. “That’s my natural build. I have changed my diet. I can change my shape. I worked hard on it this summer and felt my legs were going at camp and the start of the season.
“I have to get down to 225. It’s a matter of will and want.”
Lucic has an offseason goal, but one that could benefit the Bruins rather than the Oilers next season...