Milan Lucic traded to LA Kings, and Boston actually does well

Milan Lucic traded to LA Kings, and Boston actually does well

SUNRISE, Fla. – Milan Lucic is now a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

The Boston Bruins traded their hulking power forward in a June house cleaning that saw them also send RFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames. In return, the Bruins received the No. 13 overall pick, defenseman Colin Miller and RFA goalie Martin Jones from the Kings.

The trade gave the Bruins the No. 13, 14 and 15 picks in Friday night’s opening round, as they acquired the 15th overall selection from Calgary for Hamilton. The obvious conclusion is that preparing to package those picks to move into the top five, potentially to No. 3 from the Arizona Coyotes, to draft Boston-born defenseman Noah Hanifin.

Lucic’ll make $6 million this season -- although the Bruins are retaining salary$2.75 million against the cap -- and it's the last year in his deal. He scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 81 games last season, after netting 24 goals in 80 games the previous year.

Lucic obviously brings size and snarl to the Kings' lineup, in a conference where size and toughness are at a premium. He also has skill to hang with top liners like Anze Kopitar as he did in Boston with David Krejci.

It was Krejci’s injuries that greatly contributed to Lucic’s step back offensively this season. Keep that in mind as you read Travis Yost’s analysis of him from TSN:

A few seasons ago, Milan Lucic may have been the prototypical power forward. But, the last two seasons of his career haven’t been nearly as impressive, and the organization – in a temporary position of cap distress – needs to consider all options.

What makes Lucic the likely trade candidate, to me anyway, is he checks a series of boxes for Don Sweeney. He carries a large cap hit. He’s a desirable commodity in a league that obsesses over size and strength. His performance has quietly dropped off, and there’s a real possibility that his value around the league exceeds his true value. Trading him means the team would pick up a series of assets in return that could revitalize a drained system, and avoid an ugly scenario in which he walks in unrestricted free agency to a competitor. Or, alternatively: it avoids an ugly scenario in which Boston feels compelled to extend Milan Lucic on a long-term deal, one that he may never live up to.

And that’s the thing: The Bruins clearly decided to move on from Lucic. That era, increasingly, is over. So rather than delaying the inevitable, or worse yet seeing him walk for nothing, they got aggressive and moved him for a good return.

Miller in particular is a great pickup, a 22-year-old defenseman who had a breakout year in the AHL. And Jones is a better-than-solid backup for Tuukka Rask, or failing that trade bait.

So the Bruins are 1-for-2 on trades today. Pop the bubbly.