Updates on Milan Lucic and the Flyers’ crowded defense corps.
Lucic a goner?
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports determining the fate of left wing Milan Lucic is a tricky call for the Boston Bruins new general manager Don Sweeney. The Bruins have over $60 million invested in next season’s payroll, but Sweeney needs cap flexibility to re-sign RFAs Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly, plus find a new backup goalie.
Lucic is in the final season of a contract paying him $6 million per season and is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Moving Lucic, however, means the Bruins lose “the NHL’s signature power forward.” His consistency, however, is an issue. Prospective terms for his new contract, plus the no-trade clause in his current contract, will be factors in determining his fate. If the Bruins put Lucic on the trade block, Shinzawa speculates the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers could be interested, as their respective GMs used to work in the Bruins front office and know the winger well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Bruins limited cap space, they must shed salary and that likely means moving a high-salaried player like Lucic. He has a modified no-trade clause so he will have preferred destinations. I’m guessing the Montreal Canadiens won’t be on that list. The Canucks have cap issues of their own, so unless the Bruins are picking up part of Lucic’s salary they’re not a option. The Oilers will want assurances Lucic will re-sign with them, as they don’t want to give up assets for a player who will bolt next summer via free agency.
Flyers crowded blueline.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports the Philadelphia Flyers addition of defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev means GM Ron Hextall must move one or two other rearguards to clear the log jam on his blueline. Hextall doesn’t intend to trade Michael Del Zotto, a restricted free agent. Brough doubts there’s much of a market for Andrew MacDonald and his expensive contract, while Luke Schenn and Nicklas Grossmann’s status next summer as unrestricted free agents limits their trade value. He feels trading Nick Schultz will rob the Flyers of a physical edge. Brough feels 37-year-old Mark Streit could be their best trade chip, though they would lose some leadership by moving him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Philadelphia in recent weeks suggest Schenn and Grossmann are the likely trade candidates, but finding markets for either guy won’t be easy. Streit has two years left on his contract at over $5 million annually in cap hit, which could hurt his trade value. This will be a significant challenge for Hextall, who will also try again to find someone willing to take fading star Vincent Lecavalier off his hands.