Pop Quiz: Off the top of your head, what’s the worst contract in hockey? Chances are you answered Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic on his ridiculous seven year, $42 million deal.
For the tidy sum of $6 million, the Oilers received just 10 goals and 34 points in 82 games from Lucic in the second year of his massive seven year, a steep drop off from the 23 goals and 50 points he put up in the first year of his agreement. It’s an even steeper drop from his career high of 30 goals and 62 points during the 2010-11 season with the Boston Bruins.
With Lucic’s play in such steep decline and with the Oilers desperate to get out from under his onerous contract, it’s no wonder why Lucic’s name has featured so prominently in trade rumors this offseason. The problem is, of course, that Lucic isn’t worth what he’s paid, which means Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli could be forced into making the difficult decision to trade Lucic along with additional assets just to free himself from the contract he signed less than 24 months ago. Ouch.
Fans and analysts have hypothesized for months just how Chiarelli and the Oilers could get out from under Lucic’s deal and… well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. It’s likely that Chiarelli will have to package Lucic up with enough enticing picks and prospects to warrant a team taking him on. Good luck with that, Pete. It’s no surprise that Chiarelli finds himself squarely in the hot seat.
Interestingly enough, another Canadian GM on the hot seat may be in a position to facilitate a deal for Lucic. According to a report from Boston based insider Jimmy Murphy, Chiarelli has been in discussions with Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin regarding Lucic.
Earlier today Murphy reported that the Habs GM is “not done” this weekend, referencing yesterday evening’s trade with the Arizona Coyotes that saw the team part with Alex Galchenyuk in exchange for Max Domi.
Hearing Oilers and Habs have possibly reignited trade talks they had before and at deadline. Have heard numerous names but nothing that concrete yet. One thing is clear: Marc Bergevin is not done. First domino fell, now what’s the next?
So, what’s next? Murphy went on to cite a report from an anonymous insider account called Hockey 24/7 which states:
Alzner and Lucic swap is what we are hearing. Obviously other parts are involved.
Interesting. Lucic for Karl Alzner. In effect, one bad contract for another.
Alzner, of course, was signed by Bergevin to a five year, $23 million deal last summer. The 29 year old defenseman put up just 12 points in his first season with the Habs in 2017-18, following a 10 year career with the Washington Capitals. Alzner is signed for four more seasons at approximately $4.6 million per season. While his contract isn’t quite the anchor that Lucic’s is… it’s still a HUGE overpayment.
Could the Habs and Oilers work out a deal that enables both players a fresh start? Time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be an interesting offseason in Edmonton and Montreal.