Rumour: Could Milan Lucic be Traded to the Canucks?

Twitter was abuzz Tuesday afternoon when reports surfaced that ex-Vancouver Giant and local hero-turned-villain Milan Lucic’s name had been floated in trade rumours involving the Vancouver Canucks.

Are these rumours credible? Would it make sense for Vancouver to do this? What would Lucic’s impact be on the Canucks? We’ll explore after the jump.

First and foremost, the source of the rumour. From ESPN’s John Buccigross:

I’ll just get this out of the way right now so you can stop reading if you like and move on with your day, but there’s really nothing to support this rumour. No really big hitter like Bob McKenzie is linking the two parties in trade talks, and there’s no reason to believe a Lucic deal is even imminent.

The Canucks need to move a D-man, Lucic could be on the outs in Boston, but any connection between the Canucks and Lucic is pretty much just connecting the dots at this point, even if there are a lot of dots to connect. Yes Jim Benning had Lucic in Boston and reportedly loves his big meat-and-potatoes power forwards, but Lucic is making $6 million next season before becoming a UFA and both teams need to move salary out

Vancouver needs to finish putting a full team together, and Boston has to get Dougie Hamilton under contract. Unless one of the teams can shed a bunch of salary first, it doesn’t seem likely that this will happen since a Bieksa-for-Lucic swap helps no one get 18 skaters on the ice on a nightly basis.

But now that we’ve established that this is unlikely to happen in the near future, let’s have some fun with it. Despite playing his entire professional hockey career in Boston, Lucic has a long and storied history with Vancouver. It began with a Memorial Cup championship with the Vancouver Giants, elevating him to a local hero and a fan favourite for Canucks and Giants fans alike. 

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(Aside: I was at the Memorial Cup Championship game, and that shift was the loudest I’ve ever heard a rink, and the most fun I’ve ever had at a hockey game.)

Then 2011, Do-You-Know-Who-I-Am gate, and a host of other stuff happened, souring the relationship between Vancouver and the big Bruins forward. You know the stories there, I’m sure.

As another funny layer to this rumour, a Lucic trade would put Lucic and Ryan Miller on the same team, which might make for an, umm, interesting team dynamic:

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One wonders what implications this might have on keeping Eddie Lack in Vancouver too…

In all seriousness though, Milan Lucic might actually be the perfect aging-Sedins linemate. While the Twins’ shot attempt metrics are still exceptional and lead to an elite defensive impact, the decline of Daniel’s scoring ability in particular is hampering their ability to generate goals at even strength.

Lucic has demonstrated an ability to be a force in front of the net when he’s engaged, and has always carried a high individual shooting percentage. Daniel and Henrik at this point need a guy who can turn shots into goals since getting shots isn’t a problem. Alex Burrows hasn’t quite been that guy for the past two seasons. Daniel isn’t that guy anymore. Radim Vrbata has never been that guy at even strength. Milan Lucic is 9th in the NHL in Even Strength shooting percentage since 2010 at 13.8%, and 2nd among players with over 5,000 minutes of ES TOI.

While Lucic could conceivably help the Canucks and the fallout would undoubtedly be entertaining, I just don’t see Benning swinging this deal any time soon. Vancouver’s focus appears to be on shedding cap dollars and acquiring early to mid round draft picks right now, which is right where it should be.

  • andyg

    Dear god, not Lucic. Unless the goal is to bring in unbelievable controversy (and make any number of people hate Jim Benning), Lucic would be a stupid mistake.

    I’m sure his style would compliment the twins, but Lucic is an ass. And more than that, a domestic abuser. No to Lucic.

  • andyg

    There is no way I want this giant doucher on the team. His production is steadily declining, he’s a douche, way overpaid and has 1 more year on that moronic deal. No thanks. I’d rather try and deal with Kassian.

    • Thefreshpots

      None of those players will be the player Lucic is and suggesting otherwise is homerism of the worst kind.

      They are at least younger, though. Lucic doesn’t really fit our need to get younger for the rebuild.

  • andyg

    Rumour: Could Milan Lucic be Traded to the Canucks?

    No. Vancouver has enough problems without one more adding to it.

    Lucic is the kind of guy who will eventually piss off the wrong people and end up face down on the side of Granville St.

  • pheenster

    Given Jim Benning’s proclivity for (most likely inadvertently) trolling this site by doing exactly what the contributors and readers don’t want him to do, I see Lucic in a Canucks uniform by the weekend.

  • Thefreshpots

    I get that he’s not a popular guy in Vancouver, but neither was Chelios in Detroit until he was traded there.

    If he makes the team better, and the price is right, you have to do it, hotheaded comments aside.

    It’s silly that more comments aren’t centring around whether or not he could help the team, or whether he’s worth the asking price, or if his production is about to go off a cliff. Nope, we just don’t like him because he’s a big meanie poo face.

    The commenters here scoff when scouts or GMs talk about “character problems” but will ironically write off Lucic for those very reasons.

    • Dirty30

      I don’t care that Lucic is an enormous douche but I don’t want to add a high-contract power forward whose productivity is declining, who didn’t show up for large parts of last year, and who can’t keep his cool against fourth line players and third pairing defensemen. We have enough PF projects. What we need is to add young talent on the D and puck possession W not Lucic.

      • Thefreshpots

        Yeah, this is what a reasonable argument looks like.

        Only way I make this trade is if they’re getting an old defenseman back, or it leads to Miller demanding a trade.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    So long as Miller races out the door with his 6 million cap hit because of Lucic coming in the door, I’d have no problem keeping Lack and Markstrom with Lucic Up front with the Twins. Lack is an upgrade over Miller and for far less cap and while Lucic might not be a world beater anymore, neither is Bieska… That’s a far better team and with more cap space even if Miller is traded for a lottery ticket, like a 4th round pick, to San Jose so he can be closer to his wife. Too bad Benning is incapable of owing up to his numerous mistakes and just doubles down again and again. He is single handily destroying this team and it’s ability to maneuver under the cap… Terrible draft record so far too. Please adjust and make good picks this year!

  • Dirty30

    A decent fantasy trade rumour could have been a compare and contrast of Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic entitled “From donuts to dust-ups” as possibilities coming to Vancouver.

    Meh, we got a six million dollar donut hole in goal and Phil would just hang around the wrong net waiting for a Scooby snack so that would be a fail.

    Lucic would likely keep checking a Sedin just out of habit and running Miller just for the fun of it. The latter would endear him to Canucks fans but with Lack gone the only thing in goal is Benning in a speedo … Canucks get 27 straight shut-outs because no opposing players can bear to look to shoot.

    The Caucks still lose in the first round because Real Good Willie pulls Sir Speedo to put Vey in so he finally gets some ice time.

    The Year 2525: Canucks still out in the first round but Lou’s contract finally expires.

    Pass me a donut Phil …. It’s gonna be a long season … again.

  • pheenster

    In the dead zone before the draft, hockey writers have nothing to write about so they make up rumours of conjectures of speculations.
    It’s not like sports editors are checking. The VanSun digital sports page ran the same Comets story for their Canucks lead for two weeks after the Comets lost in the final.
    Hockey drought is worse than California’s.