Milan Lucic on free agency: ‘Where do I feel it’s gonna be the most enjoyable for me to go to the rink every day?’
Photo credit:James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
Milan Lucic’s current contract with the Calgary Flames expires on July 1. Not only can Lucic potentially become an unrestricted free agent on that date, but it will end a period of four seasons where the Edmonton Oilers were paying Lucic to play with their most hated rival.
On Tuesday, Lucic joined Donnie and Dhali: The Team to discuss his future.
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Lucic spoke a bit about his recent gold medal victory with Canada at the World Championship. He shed some light on how he ended up going to the tournament alongside Flames teammates MacKenzie Weegar and Tyler Toffoli.
“Once I heard Weegar and Toffoli were going to go, I reached out because I’d never been a part of it before,” said Lucic.
A big topic of conversation for the Vancouver-based show was Lucic, a Vancouver area product, potentially joining the Canucks in the future. Lucic got into it, but not before discussing his expiring (hefty) contract that he initially signed with the Oilers in 2016.
“I believe I earned that contract with how I played up to that point. But to be honest, you know, from the day that I got to Edmonton, from day one, I would say there was a lot of frustration. I think I’ve put way too much pressure on myself. And then it was quite kind of like one of those analogies that I like to use: it was like I was in quicksand. The harder I tried, and the more I did, the more I sank, and then even more frustration built up and then anger built up and all that type of stuff. So, in a way, just kind of thinking about it and talking to you guys about it right now. It’s almost a relief that the seven year contract is over, because I don’t have to you know really think about it anymore.”
Lucic spent three seasons in Edmonton after signing his contract, then was traded to Calgary in July 2019 (along with a conditional draft choice) for James Neal, with Edmonton retaining $750,000 of his $6 million cap hit for the last four seasons as he played with the Flames.
“I enjoyed being an Oiler. I enjoy being a Flame but like you said sometimes money doesn’t solve all those problems. It still has to be enjoyable. And talking about going into this next UFA, next chapter of my life, that’s a big thing for me is, where do I feel it’s gonna be the most enjoyable for me to go to the rink every day?”
Lucic played 283 games for the Flames between 2019 and 2023; only Andrew Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson played more in that span. He’s accumulated 233 goals and 584 points in 1,173 regular season games between Boston, Los Angeles, Edmonton and Calgary. He won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.
Lucic turns 35 in June and is eligible to become a UFA when his current deal expires on July 1.
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