Former Boston Bruins winger, and still fan favorite for Bruins fans, Milan Lucic is unsure of his NHL future.
After helping Hockey Canada win Gold at the 2023 World Championships this past Sunday, the 34-year-old Lucic, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, told reporters that he and his family are going to think about his playing future.
“I’ll spend the next month thinking about what the next step is in my career and what the best fit for me will be moving forward,” Lucic said after Canada’s 5-2 win over Germany in the Gold Medal game. “Right now, the main part I think is just enjoying the win. This was really the only reason I came, to win a gold medal, and that’s why I reached out to ask if there was a spot for me. I just wanted to come and do whatever I could to contribute to the group. It was a long month, but it’s worth it now at the end.
Lucic also told reporters that he would consider playing for his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks, whom, along with his 2011 Stanley Cup champion teammates, he helped beat in the thrilling seven-game 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
To me, a lot of that will go into my you know, decision as a UFA. First off I have to see what my options are and then go from there,” Lucic said. ““And obviously, you know, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It’s always a dream for a hometown boy to play for his hometown team. So, you know, I’ll definitely listen to what they had to say if [Vancouver] came calling.”
After a career-low 19 points (7g, 12a), in 77 games this past season, Lucic had two goals and two assists in ten games at the World Championships in Finland and Latvia. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound winger just completed the seven-year, $42 million ($6M AAV), contract he signed with the Edmonton Oilers in 2016. He spent the last four seasons of that contract with the Calgary Flames.
With his stats and play dipping throughout that seven-year contract, Lucic became and has remained the subject of numerous NHL trade rumors. With Lucic and his family not only remaining good friends with the likes of current Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, and alternate captains David Krejci and Brad Marchand, rumors of a return to the Bruins have percolated for years. Lucic and his family also still have plenty of friends in Boston after laying and maintaining roots in the city that he spent the first eight seasons of his career in.
The clamoring for Milan Lucic back to the Bruins got louder when Lucic partied with Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci and fellow former Bruins teammate David Pastrnak at former Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask’s wedding last summer. The ‘Bring back Lucic’ noise reached a crescendo though in the days leading into the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3 though as Lucic’s wife Brittany reached out to old media friends in Boston, and then publicly campaigned for her husband to be traded back to the Bruins. That didn’t happen as Bruins general manager Don Sweeney instead, acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov and rugged winger Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals, and another rugged winger in Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings.
Ironically, the Boston Bruins likely won’t be able to keep Bertuzzi as he’s primed for a big pay day on the UFA market, but with Lucic set for a hefty pay cut, and his love for his first team and NHL city still strong, could he finish off his NHL career where it started?
Lucic’s Flames and Hockey Canada teammate at the World Championships, MacKenzie Weegar believes that Lucic still holds value for an NHL team.
“He brings a lot of value,” Weegar said after Hockey Canada won Gold. “He’s obviously a great leader, but he’s still got a lot of juice left. He’s a guy that when he’s on the ice he can still make plays, and then when he gets in the corners guys are still worried about him. He brings a lot. He’s still got it. I would love for him to come back to Calgary because he brings a lot on and off the ice.”
Sounds like the type of player that the Bruins could’ve used more of in their seven-game first round series loss to the Florida Panthers eh?
This puck scribe is already on record as saying the Bruins have a similar and developing player like that in Trent Frederic, but maybe on a bargain basement one-year deal, Lucic could come in and mentor Frederic in the 2023-24 season.