There will be at least one big name forward up for grabs on July 1.
While we wait to see what will happen with Steven Stamkos and David Backes among others, Milan Lucic has informed Pierre LeBrun that he will be an unrestricted free agent. The Los Angeles Kings were interested in retaining his services, but it seems that the two ultimately couldn’t agree to terms, perhaps due in large part to the Kings’ tricky cap situation.
Regardless, this puts a 28-year-old forward that blends skill and grit and boasts plenty of playoff experience, including a Stanley Cup championship, into the field. It’s also an ideal time for him to test the market as he’s coming off of a strong 55-point season.
He will likely attract plenty of interest, but the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks might be the favorites for his services. Signing with the Canucks would allow him to play for his hometown and he’s already said he’d listen if Vancouver is interested. As for the Oilers, they have his old general manager, Peter Chiarelli. Lucic would also be a nice fit for an Edmonton squad that’s not short on high-end skill, but could use more strength on its first or second line.
Lucic has said that going to a team that can win the Stanley Cup is important to him and neither of those franchises are close to that point. Both have promise though, so the question is if Lucic is willing to buy into either organization’s long-term strategy.
Related: UFA of the Day: Milan Lucic