The beginning of free agency is just over three weeks away, and among the most interesting players who could potentially be available on July 1 is Milan Lucic.
A pending unrestricted free agent, he’s gone on record as saying he wants to remain with the L.A. Kings. However, a deal has yet to get done and the days are ticking away. With free agency approaching, there have been reports that locations like Vancouver and Edmonton could be a fit for the bruising power forward.
It’s no surprise that Vancouver is being mentioned as a possible destination.
Lucic is from Vancouver and played his junior hockey there. Canucks GM Jim Benning was with the Boston Bruins when Lucic was with that NHL club, winning a Stanley Cup in 2011 — in Vancouver.
On Tuesday, Lucic spoke to News 1130 Sports about the possibility of coming to Vancouver.
However, is one of his desires — going to a team that can win a Stanley Cup — in line with what the Canucks are going through right now?
The days of the Canucks dominating the old Northwest Division and winning the Presidents’ Trophy (twice in a row) are behind them. With an aging core, they finished 28th in the overall standings in 2015-16 and now go into the upcoming draft with the No. 5 overall pick.
The Canucks have good young players on the team with Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat, Ben Hutton and Jake Virtanen, and in the organization with Brock Boeser and goalie Thatcher Demko, who they feel could be a potential No. 1 for them in the future.
But there may yet be more difficult times ahead for the organization before it’s realistically ready to be competitive in the West.
If — IF — Lucic does go to free agency, and if the Canucks are interested, could management convince him they’re quickly on the road to the ultimate prize?