Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Feb 28, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) against the Boston Bruins during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the cap-crunching Bruins are in need of cheap talent.

How the Bruins get that is a tricky proposition. One way is to get guys to take hometown discounts or be willing to take less just to have another run with the franchise, like David Krejci did last summer. And it appears to have their sights set on another reunion this time around — and with one of the most beloved figures of their post-lockout era — as there’s a ‘strong possibility’ that free agency will see the club reunite with winger Milan Lucic.

The ‘strong possibility’ talk came courtesy of hockey insider Chris Johnston.

  • With the Flames for the last four seasons, the 35-year-old Lucic is staring down a jump into unrestricted free agency after a 2022-23 campaign that included seven goals and 19 points, along with 168 hits, in 77 games for Calgary.

    Utilized in a fourth-line role for most of the campaign, Lucic averaged what was a career-low 11:18 of time on ice per game, while his minus-13 rating was also the worst single-season plus-minus of his 16-year NHL career.

    But while the scoring figures have dipped, Lucic has remained an effective heavyweight in today’s NHL, and had three bouts to his name during the 2022-23 NHL season.

  • While Johnston called it a ‘strong possibility’ for the Bruins and Lucic, Vancouver-based reporter Rick Dhaliwal took it a step further, saying that Lucic to the Bruins will indeed happen once free agency begins this weekend.

    When the Bruins got the band back together, it was no secret that Lucic wanted in. It even hit the point where Lucic’s wife took to Instagram and commented ‘bring him home’ with a bear emoji on a post wondering what the Flames would do with Lucic in the final year of his contract.

    That obviously didn’t happen, and that problems that prevented the Bruins from bringing Lucic back to the Bruins last year had everything to do with his contract, which checked in at over $5 million following a retained salary transaction that sent him from Edmonton to Calgary midway through his deal with the Oilers.

    With Lucic being a free agent, those problems no longer exist.

  • Dec 11, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) against the Boston Bruins during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 11, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) against the Boston Bruins during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Lucic, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Bruins, is no longer the player he was when he burst on the scene as a glass-shattering, face-smashing power forward. He’s not even the same player he was in 2015 when the Bruins decided to part ways with him by way of a trade to the Los Angeles Kings.

    But he’s still a physical presence (his 714 hits over the last four years rank 14th among all NHLers over that stretch), and is more than willing to drop the gloves. And perhaps most importantly, he’s set up to be an affordable addition for a team that needs to ice a full roster and needs all the help they can get on the finance front.

    For Lucic, a return to Boston would almost certainly see him in Nick Foligno’s role, as a fourth-line wing whose job is to provide a strong forechecking presence and stick up for his teammates when necessary. The latter may be of critical importance to the Bruins in 2023-24, too, as the team will almost certainly have to integrate some of their younger players, who may or may not be ready for the punishing physicality of NHL play.

  • BOSTON, MA - MARCH 04: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his empty-net goal in the third period to complete the hat trick with teammate Milan Lucic #17 against the Florida Panthers during the game at TD Garden on March 4, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 04: David Krejci #46 of the Bruins celebrates his empty-net goal in the third period to complete the hat trick with teammate Milan Lucic #17 against the Panthers during the game at TD Garden. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

  • Lucic, who went to two Stanley Cup Finals with the Bruins during his eight-year tenure with the club, scored 139 goals and totaled 342 points during his 566-game run with Boston from 2007 through 2015.

    Overall, the Vancouver native has recorded 233 goals and 584 points, along with 3,253 hits and 88 fighting majors, in 1,173 career games between the Bruins, Kings, Oilers, and Flames.

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