We Need To Talk About Milan
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Milan Lucic trade scenarios have reached maximum capacity over the last few days. What started as chatter that the Oilers wanted to move on from Lucic’s contract (because duh) have grown to statements that not only have Lucic and the Oilers discussed moving him but that there are already a few teams interested in acquiring the 30 year old left winger.
This is great new for the Oilers who desperately need to clean up cap space… unlike last season where they moved Eberle away to clear up cap space but finished last season with almost 8 million in free cap. The important detail to keep in mind with dealing Lucic is that Edmonton needs to be careful to not put themselves into an equally bad situation. Preventing the ship from drowning doesn't help much if they set themselves on fire instead." Let’s check in with Frank Seravalli and see what he said on the matter.
“My understanding, and the reason that Milan Lucic is on our trade list, is because they (Oilers) are trying and talking to teams about potentially taking another contract back even if that means sweetening the pot with a pick or some other roster player in order to make it happen.”
My bet is that the sweetener mentioned would be a draft pick; likely not the #10 pick but could very well be the #40. In order for the Oilers to get out of the Lucic contract without taking on an anchor like Phaneuf or Bobby Ryan as some have suggested, this is likely the best Edmonton can hope for. Fans need to temper expectations; a “win” in a Lucic deal will be moving the contract… not whatever name would be coming back.
Should The Oilers Wait And See If Lucic Bounces Back?
Those who have followed the team for any length of time should know the frustrations of watching the Oilers make a trade. More often than not the Oilers trade a player after having a terrible year and acquire a return well below value. Fans then get to watch the traded player go on to have success while wondering why they ever thought Whosits could be a replacement. It’s that repeated strategy that has some believe the Oilers should wait and see how Lucic bounces back.
Allow me to ease your conscience
Simply put Lucic is a player in decline. His point totals have steadily decreased since the 2013-2014 season. His ability to generate at even strength which was one of his big calling cards upon being signed by the team has all but dried up. Even during Lucic's first season in Edmonton where he produced 50 points… over half of his goals came on the PP which is an aberration in comparison to any other year. Lucic was never a big element of the Kings or the Bruins PP and the fact that Edmonton continually used him as such was a mystery to me.
A lower than average shooting percentage does suggest Lucic could produce more next season… which shouldn’t be hard considering he only scored once in the second half of the season but he will not come close to the 6 million dollar contract he is playing at. Age is not the friend of players who play the game like Milan. The game is passing him by and at 30 years old Lucic is looking more like a third liner playing 13 minutes a night than on the top line playing 18 minutes.
I’m going to sign this blog off with everyone’s favourite topic. The Taylor Hall Trade.
In the minds of Oilers management, they were able to justify the Hall for Larsson trade because they knew Lucic was going to sign in Edmonton. Chiarelli believed that Lucic could replace a large amount of Hall’s points while Larsson improved the defense. Two years later Hall is a Hart trophy finalist and the Oilers are discussing how to get away from Lucic as quickly as possible.
Similar to the Reinhart deal this is a case where Chiarelli has/will be dealing away crucial assets without anything to show for it. It is a trend that needs to stop immediately or Katz needs to find this team a new GM.