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

Don Sweeney and the Bruins had themselves a wild trade deadline.

They struck early on a deal to bring Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Bruins for Craig Smith and picks. They then went out and added Tyler Bertuzzi in the immediate aftermath of injuries to both Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno.

It was about as clear of a ‘we’re all in’ message that Sweeney & Co. could’ve sent to the B’s dressing room and beyond.

But their deadline could’ve been even wilder, at least according to one rumor that made its way to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in the immediate aftermath of the 2023 trade deadline.

  • Speaking on what the Flames did and didn’t do at the deadline, Friedman shared that he had heard about the Bruins and their potential interest in another reunion, this time with Milan Lucic.

    “The wildest one I actually heard — and it obviously didn’t happen — was Lucic and Boston [and] about the possibility of him going and having one last ride with the Bruins,” Friedman revealed on a ’32 Thoughts’ podcast recapping the deadline. “But I don’t even know that it even happened. Someone said to me that they heard that rumor, but I don’t even know that that even happened.”

    Well, that would’ve been something.

  • Feb 28, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) and Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) fight for position in front of Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 28, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) and Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) fight for position in front of Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • On Lucic’s end, it’s probably no secret that he would’ve liked to rejoin the league-best Bruins for their version of “the last dance.” Not only is their ceiling higher than that of the 2023 Flames, but Lucic is still extremely close with all of his ex-teammates still with the Bruins. And Lucic’s wife even commented ‘bring him home’ with the bear emoji on an Instagram post discussing a potential trade involving Lucic prior to the deadline last week.

    Picturing them welcoming a return to where it all started doesn’t take much.

  • 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)

  • The Bruins also, in theory, had an opening for Lucic with Foligno, who has been a fourth-line mainstay this year, on the shelf and expected to remain on the shelf until the end of the regular season at the very least.

    And without busting out a calculator (those have been put away for the season, mercifully), the cap math likely would’ve worked with the continued utilization of the long-term injured reserve and/or the Flames eating some of the $5.25 million cap hit Lucic is on the books at through the end of this current season.

    Lucic also fit the B’s deadline bill of adding more violence and downright menacing play.

    But that ultimately didn’t happen, and perhaps because the Bruins already viewed themselves as ‘at capacity’ following their move for three new players ahead of last Friday’s deadline.

    “Yeah. I mean, you never really know what other teams are going to present when you get close to the deadline, and there were some things that we were certainly contemplating,” Sweeney admitted following the deadline. “But we’ve had some moving parts over the last ten days or so, and we really wanted to make sure that if we were going to tinker any further, that we’re doing for all the right reasons that really fit with us and not being disruptive.”

  • Would this have been a largely nostalgic play? Perhaps. Lucic has scored just five goals and totaled 14 points through 60 games this season to go with a career-low 11:31 of time on ice per game. But Lucic’s effectiveness as a physical presence certainly remains, with 136 hits and one hell of a punch still to his name.

    It also would’ve been fascinating to see which number Lucic would’ve taken upon a return to the Bruins. He wouldn’t be able to take No. 17, as that’s currently in use by Foligno. No. 27 is also unavailable thanks to Hampus Lindholm, and even No. 71 isn’t up for grabs with that being Taylor Hall’s number.

    It may have been a return to No. 62, which was Lucic’s first NHL number, as he wore that through training camp and cracked Boston’s 2007-08 roster with that number before switching to No. 17 later in the year.

  • 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 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. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

  • And while it didn’t happen this year, I do wonder about the future.

    Listen, it’s clear that Lucic wants to be back here. I mean, this feels like the third or fourth time this has been mentioned in the last two years, and it’s not all fan-driven stuff. He’s also a pending free agent this summer, and the Bruins are going to have a need for affordable veteran talent given their cap situation.

    If the 34-year-old Lucic, who has made almost $72 million in his NHL career, wants to be here and end things where it all started, you have to think the sides find a way to make it happen at the best price point possible.

    Now wouldn’t that be wild?

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