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Revisiting the trade for Milan Lucic five years later

May 7, 2020, 2:20 PM ET [6 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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Almost five years ago, the Los Angeles Kings acquired Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins, in exchange for Martin Jones, Colin Miller and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

The Kings were coming off two Stanley Cups in their last four seasons and wanted to get back into the playoffs, after narrowly missing in 2014-15. With Lucic, the Kings got a top-six left winger who added grit, size and up to 60 points per season. He did, however, have only one year remaining on his contract.

The Bruins, on the other hand, had just missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years and were looking to shake things up. Miller was just a prospect for the Kings who had been producing at a good rate in the AHL, meanwhile, the extra first-round pick set them up for the future as well. Martin Jones had been a backup for Jonathan Quick to this point but looked ready to take on a starting role. The Bruins didn’t need Jones with Rask in the picture though and moved him to San Jose four days later for a 2016 first-round pick and Sean Kuraly, who was selected by the Sharks in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

This is a really weird trade to look back on because though it did have some pretty significant pieces involved, none actually had any major long-term impact for either the Kings or Bruins.

To start on the Kings’ end of things, Lucic did perform well in Los Angeles, scoring 20 goals 55 points in 81 games that season. However, he left at the end of the year to join the Edmonton Oilers and looking back, it was quite the package to pay for one year of Lucic. That said, the Bruins didn’t really make out all that well from their large return.

As noted above, Jones was almost immediately flipped to San Jose, where he went on to become a starter. This means the Bruins’ real package from the trade was Colin Miller, Sean Kuraly, a 2015 first-round pick, which was used to select Jakub Zboril and a 2016 first-round pick that was used to select Trent Frederic.

Miller spent just two seasons in Boston, before being selected by Vegas in the expansion draft, where he had somewhat of a breakout year in 2017-18. Zboril, the first of the draft picks, is now 23 years old and has played just two NHL games, neither of which came this season. Frederic, the pick from the Jones trade, is now 22 years old, has played 17 games with the Bruins but has yet to register his first point. Either of the two could potentially turn out down the road but neither project as a top prospect at this point. The only current roster player the Bruins have to show for from the trade is Sean Kuraly and at 27 years old, while he may be a serviceable player, he has just 59 points in 223 career NHL games (a pace of about 22 points per 82 games).

Essentially, this is a trade that didn’t really have positive long-term effects for either team. The Kings got one year out of Lucic and gave up a future starting goalie, a future NHL defenseman and a first-round pick to do it. The Bruins didn’t make much out of their return for a top-six forward, with just Sean Kuraly and two prospects who have yet to make the NHL to show for.

While some large pieces were exchanged in this trade, you have to think neither team is overly happy with what they got in comparison to what they gave up.


Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted this weekend):

Who do you think won the Lucic trade?
Kings
Bruins
Both teams won
Both teams lost



OTHER KINGS ARTICLES FROM MAY

Projecting the Kings’ lineup next season: Defense/Goalies
Projecting the Kings’ lineup next season: Forwards
Reviewing this week's polls (May 3): Kings Edition
Kings have done the work in rebuild, now it’s a waiting game
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