If Milan Lucic didn’t return to the Boston Bruins on a one-year, $1 million, bonus-laden contract last month, could he have returned this season as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
On the most recent episode of ‘Spittin Chiclets,’ Lucic explained that the Original 6 rival of the Boston Bruins and the team he helped stage the miraculous Game 7 comeback against in 2013 tried to lure him to Toronto. Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving acquired the 6-foot-3, 240-pound rugged winger once when he was GM of the Calgary Flames. According to Lucic, he tried for a second time when Lucic was granted permission to speak to other teams by current Flames general manager Craig Conroy leading into NHL free agency.
Unfortunately for Treliving, there was no way that Milan Lucic, who clearly will bleed Black and Gold forever, would wear the blue and white of the Leafs.
“Yeah. I talked to ‘Tre’ [Treliving] a little bit, obviously because I had ‘Tre’ in Calgary there,” Lucic said. “So, he expressed some interest, and I was like, ‘Yeah, it would be tough for me to be a Leafer just because of the Boston connection.”
Ironically, Lucic also spoke to the Chicago Blackhawks before they acquired winger Nick Foligno as protection for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Connor Bedard. The 35-year-old Lucic, who spent the last four seasons with the Flames, admitted that there was mutual interest there.
“Not only that, but you get to wear one of the nicest, if not the nicest, jerseys in the league,” Lucic said of the potential of playing for the Blackhawks. “Cool city. Awesome city. For me, I think I have the most family out of anywhere in Chicago. I would’ve been playing in front of family on a night-to-night basis.”
If Lucic didn’t sign with the Bruins, it’s pretty clear that he would’ve wound up with the Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, or New York Rangers (not the Leafs or Montreal Canadiens for obvious reasons), because of his appreciation for representing an Original 6 team.
“The main thing for me, too, was I kind of wanted to go back to an Original 6 team and stuff like that because I really enjoyed that,” Lucic said. “Sometimes, when you start somewhere, you don’t really fully understand what it means until you’re gone, and I don’t want to say that I took it for granted because I didn’t.
I enjoyed and embraced being a Bruin as much as I possibly could, but sometimes you don’t truly understand it until you go somewhere else. …and then you realize, ‘Ok, wearing the Spoked B, playing at the Garden, being in the city of Boston, and not only that but my 17th season, coming back as a Bruin, and it’s going to be their century season. To be back for that, for the first professional American NHL team, all the stars were kind of aligned for me to come back, and that’s just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”