After a rough past two seasons in Edmonton, it’s become an understatement to say that Milan Lucic hasn’t lived up to the value of his lengthy contract signed back in 2016, and it now has become a heavy burden for the Oilers. But is there any way the team can move his salary from their payroll before the start of next season?
For the past two years, the talk of the town in Oil Country has been how can the Edmonton Oilers possibly ship Milan Lucic‘s 6,000,000 dollar contract out of Edmonton? This, of course, will take some creative work by whoever is named the teams next General Manager, but many seem to believe that it isn’t possible to convince another team that a deal involving Lucic would benefit their franchise. I believe that it is possible, however, I also do not believe that it will get done. It’s probably more likely that Lucic will remain an Oiler for a while.
If the Oilers were to move his contract, they would have two options that could help them potentially find a trading partner.
Option A: Bundle Lucic with top quality assets and send him to a rebuilding team that would find the assets intriguing enough to eat up Lucic’s salary for the next 4 years.
Personally, I don’t think that the Oilers are currently in a situation where they can be throwing away assets just to get rid of an anchoring contract. If the team was in a position where they were Cup contenders and needed to resign a bunch of core players, then sure you can afford to move assets to clear some cap. The Oilers are not in that situation. Maybe this makes sense closer to the Seattle expansion draft.
Option B: Find another player with a slightly better contract who is also struggling with their current club and swap them with Lucic bundled with a sweetener to help the deal go through.
This is the most intriguing option to me because there are plenty of players across the league that are also failing to live up to the face value of their respective contracts.
Maybe this is where the Oilers can find a guy who is just slightly cheaper than Lucic or has one less year left on their deal? Or even find a guy who will have just as much of a burden on the cap but at least fills a position on the roster that is currently an organizational need.
So I decided to look for players from every team in the NHL who could be a match for this type of deal. First up in this series — The Metro Division. Here’s who I found:
(in order of most realistic to least realistic possibilities)