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Milan Lucic speculates about potentially joining the Canucks

Milan Lucic on the Vancouver Canucks?

The Edmonton Oilers power forward was on Vancouver radio station Sportsnet 650 on Wednesday and talked about the potential of playing for his hometown NHL team one day.

“It’s definitely something that potentially could happen. Whatever happened from 2011 and that type of stuff, it’s all water under the bridge.”

Lucic, of course, was a member of the Stanley Cup winning Boston Bruins team that defeated the Canucks in 2011. GM Jim Benning reportedly had interest in Lucic when he became a free agent in 2016, but the Vancouver native ultimately chose to sign with the Oilers.

Despite the Bruins and Canucks rivalry, Lucic is respected by many in Vancouver due to his junior years with the city’s WHL team. In 133 career regular season games with the Vancouver Giants, he had 39 goals and 48 assists for 87 points. He also helped the team capture a WHL Championship in 2006 and a Memorial Cup championship in 2007.

The 30-year-old told the radio station he still loves the city of Vancouver and what it embodies.

“It’s still a place I love to go home to. It’s still a place I love to visit.”

Lucic also gave praise to the current state of the Canucks and the direction the team is heading in. Vancouver finished just nine points out of a Wild Card position this past season.

“I think the Canucks right now are a very exciting team. I love what Jim has done as far as building a team within and developing players. I think Travis had gone a really good job as well from the coaching standpoint. It’s an exciting team. It’s a growing team. You never know what the future has in store for you.”

Lucic had six goals and 20 points to go with 91 PIM in 79 games with the Oilers this season. He has four years left on a seven-year deal that pays him $6 million annually. His deal has a no-trade clause, but starting June 21st 2021, it becomes a modified no-trade clause in which he can submit a list of eight teams he can be traded to.

Lucic scored 23 goals in his first year in Edmonton, but has managed just 16 goals over the last two years. He brings a physical and gritty element to his game, but if he isn’t scoring regularly to go with that, the Oilers are going to have a very hard time finding an NHL team willing to take on that contract in a trade.

If Lucic were to waive his no-trade clause this offseason, would the Canucks even entertain the possibility? There’s no denying how effective Lucic was in his Boston days. He was once a 20-30 goal-scorer with the ability to put up 50-60 points and lay punishing hits. He’s become slower and much less effective since then. If the Canucks were to make a move for him, they’d be counting on the fact that he can bounce back and return to form.

The only way a Canucks and Lucic trade would really make sense at this point was if the Canucks could unload the contract of Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter in the deal. There wouldn’t be a team willing to take on Lucic’s contract without something else involved or salary retained. That’s even assuming GM Benning would go against the wishes of many Canucks fans and bring in a player that many fans despise.

It’s fair to say Lucic’s best days are probably behind him. You could argue, depending on his play in these next few years, that the Canucks could bring Lucic in on a cheap contract as a fourth-line guy when his current contract expires and the Canucks are competitive. Give him one final shot at another Stanley Cup playing for his hometown team. But even that is reaching. There just seems to be too much bad blood for the Canucks to bring the power forward into the organization at this point.

  • Goon

    The only scenario in which this makes sense is if the Oilers take back Loui Eriksson, *and* give up an extra asset, since Lucic is objectively worse than Eriksson at this point and is signed for a year longer. Then the Canucks can cross their fingers that Lucic rebounds, and if he doesn’t, buy him out following the next CBA negotiations, when there will likely be a compliance buyout available.

    • Erik Lonnrot

      I remeber when the Eriksson contract was signed my first reaction was, that’s bad but at least it’s not as bad as Lucic. Still seems to hold. Somehow both Eriksson’s play and his contract are better than Lucic’s. It would have to be a pretty good sweetener for me to make that deal.

      • Goon

        I agree, I wasn’t keen on either contract when they were signed either, but I don’t think anyone would have expected either player to have fallen off a cliff so quickly and dramatically.

    • LemonHart

      Could it be the way Edmonton has utilized him and a trade to somewhere else would revive his career, or has he just gotten too old and slow? There are a fair amount of people that think the Canucks could use more grit/toughness. My own opinion is that he is too old for the core of what the Canucks are building to be useful.

  • jaybird43

    Never count on a slow 30 year old, with two bad seasons recently, doing any sort of “bounce back”. Thanks, but no thanks. Eriksson looks like a steal next to Lucic.

  • Doodly Doot

    Lucic to the Canucks – in any scenario – is a big steaming pile of an idea. He’s proven that he’s not worth the money they threw at him not long ago, and now he can see the writing on the wall there. Much like our Eriksson. But sweet Loui is ours to figure out. Swapping hot garbage with one of our rivals is one of the worst, and least creative or productive moves we could make. What Luc ‘may’ have been as a player many years ago is gone, never to return. It wasn’t a good idea when he was potentially available a few years back. It’s a worse idea now. He and the Oil did us a favour. Has everyone forgotten how happy he was to blow off Van when he went to the Oil? He may be from Vancouver, but he’s not ‘of’ Vancouver. Please, stop making me have to write the obvious. Let’s focus on addition by addition. Math is fun friends!

  • Break The Canuck's Curse

    No, please, no!

    Tell me we are not going back to the era of a retirement club for past-their-prime hockey stars. We’ve already tried that many times and it is a failing formula. We are getting young and dynamic. We don’t need slugs unless they change the rules to allow waterskiing behind an opponent on the ice. Then Milan can just hook up and let someone pull him

    I’ve got nothing against him. Even what he did for Boston I’ve been able to put in the past but there is just not enough gas in his tank to make it work.