Pending UFA Milan Lucic has made no bones about wanting to stick in Los Angeles beyond this season.
So, not surprisingly, his camp and the Kings are getting to work on a new deal.
Per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, L.A. and Lucic’s agent, Gerry Johannson, have “exchanged contract proposals,” noting that the two sides are very early in the negotiation process.
“I wouldn’t expect this to go fast,” LeBrun said on TSN’s Insider Trading panel. “Remember how long it took on [Anze] Kopitar? I think this might be a lengthy negotiation as well.”
Kopitar, who like Lucic entered this season as a pending UFA, spent over half the campaign without a new contract before signing a monster eight-year, $80 million extension in mid-January.
The Kings had cap concerns prior to the Kopitar deal, so it fair to assume they have even more now. As such, Lucic’s extension could be a tricky one to finagle, especially when it comes to term. The rugged power forward, who turns 28 in June, has put a lot of miles on his body and is coming off a short-term deal (three years) that paid well ($6 million) annually.
Lucic has done well this year to boost his value.
After a mediocre final campaign in Boston — scoring just 18 goals and 44 points in 81 games — there were concerns about his ability to produce. Well, Lucic has alleviated some of those concerns by scoring 15 goals and 40 points through 64 games, proving to be a nice fit within the Kings system (and for head coach Darryl Sutter).
The x-factor in all this, of course, is the potential to go to market. There would likely be suitors for Lucic’s services in free agency, and his hometown team — the Vancouver Canucks — have long been reported interested in bringing him aboard.