The Los Angeles Kings may have fallen short of their Stanley Cup goals in 2015-16, but that doesn’t mean Milan Lucic didn’t enjoy his time there.
Lucic, who can become a free agent on July 1, seems to be dead set on returning to Los Angeles next season and beyond.
“Obviously there are two months until July 1, so hopefully something can get done here so that I can remain a King moving forward into the future,” Lucic said, per LAKingsInsider. “That’s something that I’ve expressed that I really want to happen. Like I said, I really enjoy being an L.A. King and everything that it has to offer, and hopefully it can get done here in the near, near future.”
Lucic was acquired from the Bruins at last year’s NHL Entry Draft and he enjoyed a pretty productive first year on the West Coast. The 27-year-old finished the season with 20 goals and 55 points in 81 games.
The Kings already have $66.397 million committed to next year’s cap (that doesn’t include the relief from Vincent Lecavalier’s retirement), which means Lucic will probably have to take less money to stay in Los Angeles. Lucic is coming off a three-year, $18 million deal, but the Kings were only on the hook for $3.25 million this season. It sounds like Lucic might be willing to take a discount.
“The sooner the better,” Lucic said of getting a deal done. “To be honest, I really don’t have much interest into hitting the open market or even hearing what’s out there, because in my mind this is where I want to be. Why flirt with something when you know what you want? That’s the case for me moving forward.”
With Anze Kopitar‘s $10 million cap hit kicking in next season, it’ll be interesting to see if the Kings can make the numbers work for Lucic.