(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
Mere hours before the draft started, Elliotte Friedman confirmed the trade via Twitter. Los Angeles sent the 13th overall pick, backup goalie Martin Jones and defense prospect Colin Miller in exchange for Lucic. It was later revealed that Boston agreed to retain $2.75 million of Lucic’s $6 million cap hit.
At the time, the trade was not very well received by either fanbase. For Boston fans, this news came on the heels of the Dougie Hamilton trade and seeing the popular, rugged left winger go was a bit like rubbing salt in the wound.
For LA fans, there were concerns about where he would fit into the lineup and if his style of play as a power forward would help or hinder the notoriously low scoring club. Not to mention this would almost certainly spell the end for Justin Williams (an all but certainty at this point) and the fact that Lucic is an Unrestricted Free Agent next summer.
Dean Lombardi has repeatedly said he doesn’t do rentals and if Lucic turns out to be one, what the Kings gave up seems like a steep price to pay. Furthermore, should LA decide to retain Lucic’s services beyond next year, what would be the asking price? He could easily be looking for $7 million plus, and with Anze Kopitar due for an extension (along with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson the year after that) and the possibility that the cap may not rise, there is some mild concern that the Kings may not be able to fit him in.
Following the trade, Lombardi praised Toffoli who had agreed to a new two year agreement worth $6.5 million that same morning.
“If Tyler Toffoli doesn’t step up and do this, we can’t do this deal,” Dean Lombardi said, referencing how smoothly and easily the young winger’s contract negotiations went.
Lombardi has visions of having Lucic skate on Kopitar’s left wing while allowing Marian Gaborik to move back to his more comfortable position on right wing. Gaborik is a left shot and was moved to left wing when the Kings traded for him at the deadline in 2014.
Initially it looked like with this trade, LA would not be able to retain the services of Andrej Sekera, even with a Mike Richards buyout. The concern was that Sekera wanted a long term contract but would not be able to afford it when the buyout penalty on the 30-year-old center’s “backdiving” contract reached $4.2 million.
However, with the news that the Kings were terminating Richards’ contract due to a breach, there remains the possibility that they could still sign the popular Slovakian defenseman. But that’s an entirely different situation that’s becoming as clear as mud.