After being called out by Edmonton-based media and after an abysmal start to his season, speculation is Milan Lucic has finally asked for a trade.
Earlier in the summer, there were all sorts of rumors that Lucic's relationship with the Oilers was coming to an end. Speculation was he had advised the organization that if they were to trade him, he wouldn't stand in the way and would waive his no-movement clause. The rumors made the rounds and after things got quite loud, both sides back-pedaled. Lucic's representation suggested that rumor wasn't true and that he wanted to rebound from a terrible 2017-18 season and the Oilers felt a motivated Lucic could help. As 2018-19 began and through nearly half the season, Lucic's production has actually declined.
Now a part of Edmonton's third line, and potentially a healthy scratch in Sunday's game versus the Anaheim Ducks, Lucic was called out by Edmonton-based media on Saturday as the Oilers were losing an embarrassing game versus the lowly LA Kings who trounced Edmonton 4-0.
Ire was aimed at Lucic for his lack of response in a game where Kings players, namely Drew Doughty, were taking liberties with Connor McDavid. An elbow right to McDavid’s face got no response. In fact, speculation is that Lucic refused to come to McDavid's aid because he has friends on the Kings team.
With Lucic once again the focus of outrage in Edmonton, word is that he’s not happy in Edmonton and both sides would be keen on moving on from one another. If so, trading him won’t be easy. His contract is an albatross at $6 million per season over the next five seasons and who would want a player who seems disinterested, too slow for the game and hasn't scored more than two goals in nearly 100 NHL games?
What This Means
If Lucic has, in fact, checked out. This is devastating news for the Oilers who can't afford to have anything else go wrong this season. It also goes to show that there is a major issue in the NHL if players aren't responding when called upon take action against the opposition merely because they have friends on the team. The lack of competitive spirit in the NHL is something that has been questioned by coaches this season and Lucic is proving there may be something to that speculation.