The Pittsburgh Penguins have had conversations with the Calgary Flames about 33-year-old forward Milan Lucic, The Athletic writers Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe reported Tuesday.
Here’s more of what Rossi and Yohe had to say about the Penguins’ potential trade targets:
Sources say the Penguins have had conversations with several teams. These are those teams and players about whom the Penguins inquired, with varying degrees of interest:
  • Arizona Coyotes: goalie Darcy Kuemper and left winger Christian Dvorak
  • Anaheim Ducks: left winger Rickard Rakell
  • Calgary Flames: left winger Milan Lucic
  • Detroit Red Wings: left winger Tyler Bertuzzi
  • Vegas Golden Knights: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
(Author’s note: Vegas traded Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago on Tuesday, shortly after the Rossi/Yohe piece was published, in exchange for forward Mikael Hakkarainen).
Lucic currently has two years remaining on a deal paying him an average annual value of $6 million; the Flames pay Lucic $5.25 million of his salary per season while the Edmonton Oilers are responsible for the remaining $750,000. He scored 10 goals and 23 points in 56 games with the Flames in 2020–21.
In the Athletic piece, Rossi and Yohe also noted the availability of Penguins forward Jason Zucker (among others). The 29-year-old winger also has two seasons remaining on his contract (at a $5.5 million AAV) and was rumoured to be on the move to Calgary in a nearly-consummated deal at the 2019 trade deadline.
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After gaining some cap relief by trading forwards Jared McCann and losing winger Brandon Tanev in the expansion draft, Hextall would rather trade away [Marcus] Pettersson, [Mike] Matheson or [Jason] Zucker through hockey trades. Basically, he wouldn’t want to merely dump either of those players in exchange for likely lower-round future draft picks and salary-cap space, but rather address a perceived need for the Penguins. […]
As for the other players listed, they’re all left wingers aside from Kuemper. The Penguins would appear to be set at left wing in their top six with Jake Guentzel and Zucker.
But with Zucker said to be available, it would make sense for Hextall and Burke to explore potential replacements. Though not all of the players on this list project as top-six left wingers, at least a few would likely add that “gritty, sandpaper element”, Hextall told The Athletic he would like to add going into the upcoming season.
Zucker scored 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 38 games with the Penguins in 2020–21. He split the previous year between Pittsburgh and Minnesota, tallying 20 goals and 41 points in 60 games.
Lucic had a full no-movement clause in the first five seasons of his seven-year contract, meaning he could veto any trades and prevent himself from being waived to the AHL. As of June 1, Lucic is now obligated to provide the Flames with a list of eight teams to which he would accept a trade. He previously waived his no-movement clause for the Seattle expansion draft.
Zucker annually submits a 10-team no-trade list to the Penguins. Prior to his difficult 2020–21 season with Pittsburgh, Zucker had provided a total of 52.9 expected goals above replacement (xGAR) and $39.7 million of on-ice value between the 2016–17 and 2019–20 seasons (according to Evolving-Hockey). His 0.2 xGAR figure in 2020–21 ranked as his worst individual mark since the 2013–14 season.
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Despite struggling mightily in his final two seasons with the Oilers, Lucic has experienced a modest resurgence in his two years in Calgary. He failed to score a single goal in his first 27 games with the Flames but has since totalled 18 goals and 39 points in 97 games. Lucic added six points in 10 playoff games with the Flames in the 2020 bubble. According to Evolving-Hockey, Lucic has provided the Flames with $8.7 million in on-ice value (against his $10.5 million cap hit) over the last two seasons.