Updates on Lucic and Bjugstad – July 12, 2018

by | Jul 12, 2018 | Rumors | 47 comments

The latest on Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic and Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad in your NHL rumor mill.

It’s increasingly unlikely the Edmonton Oilers will trade Milan Lucic this summer (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples recently went through the “weird rollercoaster” of trade rumors swirling about Oilers left wing Milan Lucic since June 2. There was talk the Oilers were trying to package Lucic with a draft pick in an attempt to shed his contract in hopes of freeing up salary-cap space. Some of the speculation suggested Lucic wasn’t asking to be moved but was working with Oilers management to gauge his trade value. By late-June, however, Lucic’s agent denied his client was asked to waive his no-movement clause or sought to be traded.

Sifting through the rumors, Staples concludes the Oilers may have looked into moving Lucic but nothing came of it, probably because of the winger’s $6-million annual cap hit and declining production last season.

Staples also rejects the notion recently suggested by TSN’s Frank Seravalli that Lucic’s current situation with the Oilers is “almost untenable”.  While Lucic appears all but certain to return to the Oilers next season, Staples feels it’s up to the big winger to make the best of things in Edmonton in 2018-19.

Staples also credits Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli for not selling low on Lucic. “There’s a decent-to-good chance Lucic will bounce back this year, at least when it comes to his goal scoring and point totals. Such a bounce back should give Lucic more value should he and the team still want to move him next summer.” He believes there’s a 60/40 chance of Lucic having a bounce-back performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Staples’ take. The Oilers may have looked into the possibility of moving Lucic but probably didn’t reach the point where they felt they had sufficient interest from other clubs to ask him to waive his movement clause. He may not have requested a trade but may have been willing to waive his clause if the Oilers approached him with a suitable destination. If Lucic regains his form next season it should improve his trade value, though interested parties will likely want the Oilers to pick up a portion of his cap hit. 


THE ATHLETIC: Nick Kelly reports Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad has been the subject of trade speculation. He cites a recent interview by Bjugstad’s agent, Ben Hankinson, claiming the Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins have at times expressed interest in his client. However, Hankinson said Panthers GM Dale Tallon told him there’s no chance the 25-year-old forward gets traded. The agent acknowledged no player is untouchable but said the price for Bjugstad “has gone up.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Hankinson noted, if Tallon got the right offer for Bjugstad he’d trade him. However, it doesn’t sound as though anyone’s coming close to meeting the asking price, whatever that may be. The 6-foot-6, 218-pounder was shifted from center to left wing last season and set career highs in assists (30) and points (49). He could be poised for bigger things in 2018-19. 



  1. I dont see Edmonton being able to move Lucic unless its bad contract for another bad contract. As for a bounce back season thats pretty doubtful. Lucic was already slow and now he’s another tear older and another year slower. Best case scenario is he plays at a decent level and the Oilers find a rube at the trade deadline looking to add some sandpaper and depth for the playoffs. That being said the return would be minimal with some of his salary retained.
    I never could figure out why they gave him so much money and six years.

    • I’m fully at the opposite end of the spectrum. Lucic will bounce back & score in or around 25 goals & 55 points. Playing his usual aggressive style that distinguishes him as 1 of the most feared players in the NHL & continue his career in Edm for at least 2 more years after this season. The summer of the expansion draft.

      • Pavol Demitra has a better shot at getting 25 goals/55 points. I agree he’ll have a bounce back season but anything over 15 goals/40 points would be a stretch.

  2. Wherever Lucic is this upcoming season; I believe his numbers will be better. I’m not calling on him for a massive turnaround… modest improvement more likely.

    I’ve posted before that a trade with 50% take back would work… he’s been paid his SB now so just over $22M left on contract… at 50% take back ; receiving team gets him for 5 @ around $2.25M per….there will be a market for him at that amount… return might become a prospect and mid pick

    At 25% take back …. receiving team gets him for 5 @ $3.38M… less palatable but still some suitors … with obviously less return

    • Pengy – what would the point of that be? Retain $3M of the cap hit and get what? They would need to sign a $6M player at $3M just to break even.

      • Hi Hulk

        yes in financial terms strictly you are correct— I’m thinking more long term and production

        Could they not get a much faster, younger, up and coming winger for $3M in a trade?

        I fell ED needs to do something. Lucic will have better numbers next year IMO — not a huge jump; but better — however not anywhere near the production value of a $6M Cap hit.

        I was just throwing out the numbers— were it me… I might push for the hybrid option — 25% take back— freeing up $4.5M in cap space. Return is not much — but cap space much more valuable.

    • Edm doesn’t currently have anyone in their system to play LW. RNH has been moved to LW with McDavid & that worked well but that still makes Lucic the #2 LW in Edm with Draiaistl. He may not get 1st unit PP but certainly 2nd.

      Edm isn’t eating 1/2 Lucic’s contract ever at least in my opinion.

      • Hi Striker

        See my comments above — I concur that the 50% take back is very unlikely — could happen but slim slim chance.

        I would move on the 25% take back– free up $4.5M in Cap space

        They would still need to make a move— but at least they have the extra cap space to do it with.

      • I am less optimistic about a Lucic bounce back Striker. I get the theory of 1 bad year out a long career often leads to a bounce back especially one a Lucic’s age. And it has to get somewhat better as how could it get worse.
        He was brutal after Xmas last year. Actually he was absolutely brutal. Couldn’t take a pass, couldn’t make a pass, couldn’t handle a rebound, couldn’t finish.
        Playing mostly top 6 minutes, at least to the very end of the season, in 43 games he managed 1 goal and 7 assists and a beauty minus 18.
        The play died with him. I agree he won’t be traded (who would possibly take that chance without a significant sweetener which EDM doesn’t have to spare), I agree he will start the season likely in the top 6 again. Maybe even get some PP time in the first few games.
        He can get lighter and somewhat faster once he drops some mass, but it isn’t like he was out of shape, the opposite was true.
        It is the hands, or the eye hand more specifically. Will that get better at 30? Even with a skills coach and working on it all summer, I don’t know if I would be investing too much in any pool I was participating in.
        The Oil simply can’t afford to keep playing him with McDavid or Draisaitl as they need to win games and he was a line killer last year.
        I know he gets paid $6/year but if he can’t make a major turn around he has to play in the bottom 6, no matter how much he makes.
        Hell Aberg would be better than him on that line but I think Reider plays in the top 6 unless they see a change immediately from Lucic. I will pass when my pick comes around.

      • In Ray Bark’s assessment of Lucic, I agree and wonder if being an anchor (as in dead weight) may just be karma to Lucic after his pitiful trip though the line to shake (and threaten) Dale Weiss’ hand after being hammered in their playoff series. Lucic wants to be an obnoxious poor sport? Karma baby!!!

      • Pacioretty would be a perfect fit & he’d have a career year on MCdavid’s wing.

  3. Re Bjugstad … I see the interest by Mon and obvious main piece in that trade is Patches

    Pens interest also obvious … but what would they have to give up ….. JJ? Sorry I jest… who?

    I can’t think of an obvious return ask from Minn?? Anybody??

    • Coyle , maybe Zucker

      • I’d send Parise straight up for Bug’s. Dump that albatross contract.

        Some sarcasm here but not much………

      • Min is stuck with Parise’s contract potentially for many more years. The only hope of getting that contract off the books in Minnesota is if his current degenerative back injury see’s him moving to LTIR permanently in the future.

        Serious back issues are NHL career killers. If he ends up on LTIR moving forward insurance will cover 80% of the actual salary & that would make it possible to pay some team able to absorb the cap hit down the road a possibility. That said I think that option is still probably at least 4 years away.

        There is always a chance, although slim that the NHL may allow another buyout window in the next CBA.

      • Fergy 22

        I’m sure that might be the offer from Minn but would FLA desire either of them?

    • MB asking price for Pacioretty should start with Borgstrom and a 1st , if he can get another asset with that , then take it . Coyle for Bjugstad would be fair as i see both of them with potential but inconsistent , eachbone needs to step up and play better.

      • Hi KRW

        I would see MB asking for that but FLA does not want to give up Borgs …. and Borgs plus a 1st is too much for Patches IMO

  4. bjugstad is inconsistent.this is a big year for him, I believe, one way or another. as for max, he would enjoy playing in south florida. he could walk the streets and no one would notice, save for the large influx of Quebecers during the winter months.the panthers need to start making the playoffs before all the “great young talent”gets lost. ah hell they should pack their bags and move.NO ONE cares down here.

    • Bjugstad is right at my breakthrough point for forwards of his physical makeup, 6’3″ & or 220+ lbs, same as Dman using the 80/20 rule. That being 400 NHL regular season games. He has played 362. Career year now that he has moved to RW in the top 6. He will get to play with Barkov & Huberdeau or Trocheck & Hoffman.

      I’m projecting 25+ goals & 55 to 60 points if he can stay healthy & play at least 75 games. Health has been an issue for Bjugstad. When drafting I would temper those expectations due to injury history but I will draft in the 50 point range hoping for upside based on health.

      • Nothing like sipping on some coffee and reading all about Striker’s breakout points (trademark pending).

        :p jk jk I do agree with you on Bjugstad, I see him and Lindholm breaking through this year as late bloomers.

      • Those targets, 200 regular season games played for forwards of normal size & 400 for monster forwards or Dman to fully develop & reach their breakthrough stage holds for 80% of players give or take a few games. Monster forwards are big boned players who take longer to fill out & develop simple physics. 6’3″ or taller & or 220 lbs or above.

        I moved away from years played many many moons ago as injuries, lockouts & the time needed for most players to get to the NHL has changed over the last 4 decades.

        I have won a ton of cash & pools not writing off these players in these target ranges as breakout & or breakthrough players. Dobber’s finally buying in, it’s taken several years to convince him but he see’s the merit.

        As always go run the data your self. I think you will be quite surprised with what you discover.

      • Taz.

        You can have the insight for free. My gift to you no patent pending just years of research & excel spreadsheets.

    • Ownership earned this: the trends in Gallant’s last year were all positive, then: “Burning down the house.” The market gave us rats once & they’d get on the bandwagon of a winner with flair again. Same deal with the Marlins, & even the Dolphins. It’s not an impossible market, but you gotta win, & with a little pastiche’. If they were good the citrus rivalry could be fun.

      • It’s very early in the summer but I have Flo bumping someone out of the playoffs in the east next season & I assume that team will be NJ but still a long way from locking those predictions in. Flo almost caught NJ came up a point short last season.

      • “Monster forwards are big boned players who take longer to fill out & develop simple physics. 6’3″ or taller & or 220 lbs or above.”

        Ah, one of the great unproven cliche’s of hockey. Naming an example or two doesn’t prove anything.

        It is more likely that it only seems like bigger players take longer because bigger players get the benefit of the doubt over and over while smaller players don’t get the second and third chances. That and selective memory. I’ve got dozens, maybe hundreds, of Erica Tangradi’s, etc. that I could name.

      • I’m in alignment with Striker w.r.t. FLA making playoffs next year

        I have strong confidence in the (in no particular order): Lightning, Pens, Wsh, Tor, Bos,

        Buff, Ottw, Mon, Car, both NY teams— Fogeddaboudid

        That leaves FLA, NJ, Phi and Clb fighting for 3 spots— and I see FLA getting in

        Now– who is out … I don’t have gut feeling on that

  5. Interesting…GMs are stuck with washed up forwards with long term deals. Parise, Lucic, Bob Ryan(he’s 31 not a little kid so not calling him Bobby). Early 30s they were all done.

    • Parise has been battling a serious back issue for 2 years, he did manage 15 goals in 42 games last season, his 13-year deal was signed prior to the 2012-13 lockout it may as well have been an alternate world prior to the latest CBA.

      Lucic had 1 bad season & was signed at normal UFA monies based on his contributions & stature at that time. He will bounce back to career norms in all ways.

      Ryan wasn’t worth the deal Brian Murray signed him to but it was a completely different cap world in the summer of 2014. Teams were warned about the pending decline fo the Canadian dollar by the NHL but several didn’t heed that warning, now his contract is an albatross. The cap essentially flat-lined until this season following that summer.

      A fresh start would help Ryan significantly as playing in OTT hasn’t been great for him. Ryan hasn’t seen 1st unit PP time in Ott since 2015-16 under Boucher, Ryan finished 8th in TOI/GP for forwards behind stalwarts like Pyatt in 2016-17 & Last season he finished 9th. Those are 3rd line minutes & Ottawa. Ottawa could ice 1 decent PP unit never mind 2. last season Ott’s PP was 27th in the league at 16.6% the season prior 23rd at 17%. If Ryan returns to a top 6 roll & gets better linemates on a 2nd PP unit elsewhere he will also bounce back to career norms. The problem is those norms are low 20’s in gaols barely hitting 50 points. It’s been a long time since he posted 30 goal seasons & 60+ point seasons playing primarily as Anh’s #1 LW & seeing 1st line PP time with Getzlaf & Perry.

    • Reality check!
      We know from research, or think we know, that peak point scoring is age 26 or 27, on average. We know, or think fancy stats tell us, that overall value may on average increase for two or three years after peak point production. It appears that, while really good players age too, 80% of a really good player at 31, 32, 33 is usually a decent value. There appear to be two types of aging. All skills go at the same time (Bobby Ryan?) or the skills remain, but for limited minutes (Chris Kunitz). But we can be pretty sure of this: if you are signing a 27-28 year old to a seven year deal there are going to be a couple of albatross years at the end of the contract. And a NMC makes it more likely that the albatross will stay close to home, not fly away. I don’t see a way to avoid long term deals for good players, so plan accordingly. The limited NMC takes on an outsize value here. Striker has suggested that in the conflict coming between labor & management the free agency age will come down. That might be a good thing. 7 years for a 22-23 year old, with a re-evaluation at 30, might work well for both sides. You could get it that low if there are restrictions; the player gets his money, the drafting & development club has some rights, the big money matches the big years, and the reduced cash for older players helps the initial contract, which might increase a bit. There are a LOT of bad big deals on the books now to provide context for the next CBA

      • I would prefer that free agency not decline from the current standard but the NHL is going to have to make some concessions to get what they really want & this is 1 of the few things they can give up.

        I assume the next CBA will lock in Olympic participation for the full term of that CBA, expansion revenue will become part of HHR, shocked they weren’t & this lends to the management of the NHLPA, how did they miss those 2 significant factors in 204-05 never mind 2012-13 & the revenue system will be significantly improved. HHR will also become far more encompassing picking up a ton of the grey areas that currently exist.

        These would all be concessions by the NHL & the NHLPA will have to give up something to get them. The question is what does the NHL want? They want all teams to have the chance, I stress the chance if run well, to be profitable without having to make the playoffs.

        The next national TV contract will go a long way to allow for such but I see the split in revenue between the NHLPA & NHL moving in the owner’s favour nominally. I think the NHL will demand 47% & settle at or near 48.5%, escrow will stay in effect as it’s the only way to balance this split & some changes to contract structure will happen. These huge guaranteed signing bonuses paid on July 1st with more of a players salary paid as such will be going the way of the dodo bird. They will be limited significantly.

        If the NHL decides to lock players out this time owners are now on the hook for well over 160 mil in guaranteed salaries paid to players on these types of deals whether the game is played or not.

        Bettman & Co will be under incredible pressure from some very influential owners who won’t want to be writing these checks not seeing any revenue. That said Bettman only needs the support of 12 owners to do as he chooses.

        These things fascinate me & as much as I don’t want to see the game shut down, accept it may be necessary if these issues can’t be resolved civilly. Neither party has yet shown this trait. Greed is alive & well on all fronts.

      • You can blame the Clarkson contract for the signing bonus issue. Toronto has continued that practice with Tavares being the most recent example. That is a huge advantage for the rich teams and in Ottawa, that has been rumoured to be one of the major issues with Karlsson not accepting the Sens initial offer. Not surprisingly, Melnyk doesn’t want a lot of signing bonus in the deal and Karlsson probably wants something similar to Tavares.

        The next TV deal with help tremendously as the current deal is a joke in the US, but I think revenue sharing is still going to be a sticky point in the next CBA negotiations. The rich teams (mainly, Toronto, Montreal, NY Rangers and Chicago) basically make more money then everyone else combined, at least before Vegas joined this year. That has to change.

        Striker: I basically agree with all of your points. I’m not a fan of lowering the UFA age and think that is fine as is. If anything, the entry level deals should be a year longer like the NBA. Maybe keep the UFA age the same, have entry level deals one year longer, but players get arbitration rights after their entry level deals finish.

        Another issue you didn’t mention that I’m sure the owners will fight for is potential second/bridge contract restrictions. Possibly limiting the length of the contract after the ELC to 2 or 3 years so players are still an RFA after their second deal.

  6. Great the Detroit GM just have crazy bridge deal to Mantha now Reinhart the sloth will want 7 million

    • how is 3.3 x 2 yrs for Mantha a crazy bridge deal? he is worth every penny

    • Reinhart will be bridged & get similar monies to Mantha. Considering Reinhart’s NHL start has been better than Mantha’s he may get nominally more money.

      There are a ton of players that have had excellent careers but lacked foot speed. Reinhart will play with Eichel on Buffalo’s 1st line seeing quality PP time. He scored 25 goals & 50 points last season after a brutal start where Housley tried hard to play him as a 3rd line centre but finally relented & moved him back to Eichel’s wing.

      30 goals & 65 points next season, sloth or not. His placement on Buf’s #1 PP & at a bare minimum 2nd line RW with Buf’s added depth makes it a walk in the park barring injury.

  7. I would think Reinhart’s camp are using Hertl’s deal as a comparable. I’d say 2yrs @5mil is what they settle on

    • Reinhart is coming out of his ELC, Hertl his 2-year bridge deal following his ELC. Reinhart doesn’t have arbitration rights & is 4 years from UFA status. Hertl had arbitration rights & 2 years from UFA status.

      These 2 players aren’t comparables. The business side of the game plays huge in a players salary & term. Reinhart has Zero leverage today, Hertl’s leverage was significant. He could have chosen arbitration & asked for a 2-year award potentially walking as a UFA in 2 seasons.

      Like comparing apples to oranges from a business leverage perspective.

      • what are you predicting he signs for Striker, less than 4?

      • I would assume 3.5 to 4 on a 2-year deal would be fair. Buf could hardball him for significantly less if they choose to but to what purpose. 20 goals & 50 points coming out of his ELC playing for the worst team in the NHL both in wins & goals scored is solid production & he will continue to get better, foot speed or not.

  8. I’d be surprised if Botterill can get him signed for less that 2yrx4, we’ll see.
    Any thoughts on what Dylan Larkin will be offered / sign for ?

  9. Hawks trade Hossa and 3rd round pick to the Coyotes.

    This is the kind of move the moron in Montreal should be making. Use his cap room to stockpile picks and prospects.

    • You mean like when he acquire Steve Mason, Joel Armia, a seventh in 2019 and a fourth in 2020 from Winnipeg for Simon Bourque?

      • Lyle,

        Yes, as opposed trading his best prospects, defencemen and picks fir a pipedream.

      • Ha – touche (SVP add accent).

        Well done, Spec!

    • I thought OTT would have jumped at that to then trade back Bobby Ryan….

  10. Go HAWKS!!!

  11. Connor Hellebuyck signed for 6yrs @ $6.166 per this puts him at 6th for goaltenders salary. Sound like a good deal for both side. However Hellebuyck isn’t established after one good season. If he continue his strong play great, if he falters oops.
    Trouba arbitration date is set, this is the one that intrigues me the most. We’ll know soon enough.