Upon the completion of Saturday’s transactions, the Boston Bruins will have locked up every member of their 2011 Stanley Cup winning core with long term contracts that will keep them in the Hub for the foreseeable future.
After inking both Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand to new contracts over the past handful of days, general manager Peter Chiarelli turned his attention to Milan Lucic, signing the club’s top-line left wing to a brand new three-year, $18 million dollar contract extension that will keep no. 17 in Boston until the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.
“I’ve really enjoyed being in Boston and playing for the Bruins. It’s definitely the one place and the only place I want to play.” – Milan Lucic
The $6 million dollar average annual value of the extension will make Lucic the highest paid forward on the Bruins’ roster when the deal kicks in in next year. Lucic will be second only to Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara ($6.916 MIL AAV) in the Boston salary structure.
Throughout his entire five-year tenure with the team, Lucic has perfectly personified the definition of what it means to be a Boston Bruin. His hard-nosed, physical style and ability to put the puck in the back of the net have helped Lucic become the ideal power-forward in a relentless Boston offensive attack. This type of playing style has brought back memories of the days when Cam Neely wore the sweater and made no. 17 a fan favorite in the city of Boston.
The 2011-12 campaign would mark Lucic’s second consecutive year with 60-plus points as he would set a career high in assists with 35 while skating in all but one of the Bruins’ 82-game slate. His best statistical season would come one year ago in 2010-11 when he would score 30 goals for the first time in his career while adding 32 assists for a total of 62 points. In 359 career regular season games, Lucic has picked up 90 goals and 122 assists with a whopping total of 525 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, no. 17′s track record is solid, but not quite as impressive as his regular season numbers. With 62 postseason games under his belt, Lucic has scored 15 goals and added 20 assists with 137 penalty minutes.
A Stanley Cup winning season like the Bruins enjoyed in 2011 can do big things for a team’s chemistry and togetherness. After seeing the core group of that team signed up to long-term deals with the B’s, Lucic can enjoy the comfort of knowing which players he will be taking the ice with for the duration of his new contract.
“He (Peter Chiarelli) believes in all of us as players and we believe in him and what he’s trying to build here.” – Milan Lucic
Unfortunately, Lucic may have to wait a while before returning to work with his teammates this fall as the impending NHL lockout is set to kick off this evening at midnight. With the current collective bargaining agreement just hours from expiration, no further negotiations have been scheduled between the league and the player’s association. Lucic, like most players, hopes to remain positive during this time of uncertainty in the NHL.
“Right now, all you can do is stay optimistic and be positive that a new deal will get done.” – Milan Lucic
If faced with a lengthy work stoppage, many NHLers will begin to look elsewhere for ice time this fall, whether it be in the American Hockey League, the Kontinental Hockey League or one of the many other European professional leagues. While things can obviously change in an instant, Milan Lucic hasn’t began to create a lockout contingency plan just yet.
“As of right now, I have not looked into playing elsewhere.” – Milan Lucic
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.