The Calgary Flames have had an extremely busy offseason. Stars like Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk found new teams, but they also added Jonathan Huberdeau and are on the verge of signing Nazem Kadri. Elliotte Friedman recently reported that Sean Monahan is heading to the Montreal Canadiens in response to the Kadri signing. Overall, we have seen some major changes to the Flames’ roster, but more could be on the way from general manager (GM) Brad Treliving. Perhaps Milan Lucic might also be on the move.
Trading a player like Lucic could open the door for the Flames to make one last notable offseason addition, which is something Treliving should consider. Lucic is in the final year of his contract, which might help the Flames move on from his expensive cap hit. If he is officially made available, these three teams would be the best fit.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings have had a big summer, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of GM Steve Yzerman making more moves before the start of the season. Detroit is looking to be more competitive, and they also still have over $9 million to work with, so they could trade for Lucic with ease, salary retention or not.
Lucic would be a fine addition to the Red Wings’ bottom six as they aim for a playoff spot this season. Although they are starting to form a solid forward group, he could be a good fit on their fourth line. The team isn’t exactly known for its toughness, so bringing in the 34-year-old winger would be a good way to help change that.
On an ending contract, Lucic would be a good short-term addition to the team. He is a 1,096-game veteran who still plays a heavy game. In exchange for taking on his contract, the Red Wings might also get a sweetener like a draft pick or young player. As they continue to rebuild, Yzerman should consider the prospect of adding Lucic.
The Anaheim Ducks have also quietly had a strong offseason. At the beginning of free agency, they added Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano to their forward group. Then they inked John Klingberg to a one-year pact. Although the Ducks are still rebuilding, they are also hoping to be better in 2022-23. They have plenty of cap space, so they, too, would be a fine destination for Lucic.
Lucic would work well in Anaheim’s bottom six. Their left-wing depth isn’t the best, so the Vancouver native would provide them with another decent option. At worst, Lucic would be an upgrade on the Ducks’ fourth line. This is especially true given that he would provide plenty of grit and toughness to their group. It also wouldn’t be a bad thing to have him around to protect young players like Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale.
Like with the Red Wings, the Ducks might be open to bringing in Lucic if the deal comes with a sweetener. Even after their summer of spending, they are still looking to add to their prospect pool, so getting another young player or draft pick along with Lucic could make this trade worthwhile.
The Blackhawks would also make sense for Lucic. With the club rebuilding and with cap space to work with, they could be willing to acquire the power forward if they get something else as well. The Blackhawks should be looking to secure as many draft picks as possible, so there could be a match here. GM Kyle Davidson has already shown that he isn’t afraid to take on bad contracts for extra compensation, like the Petr Mrazek deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Blackhawks should be on the hunt for another forward. Their depth has been hit very hard this summer after moving on from Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, and Dylan Strome. Although Lucic can not replicate their offensive production, he would still provide the Blackhawks with another NHL-caliber option. With that, he could also mentor the team’s younger players.
Chicago should take advantage of Lucic’s bad contract and get a little something extra in the process. Overall, he would give them some added toughness and potentially even decent secondary scoring, so Davidson should at least consider this possibility.
Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to see if the Flames decide to move Lucic before the start of the 2022-23 season. If he is officially made available, he would be a solid addition to any of the three teams listed above. Lastly, an honorable mention should go out to the Boston Bruins. Although the Bruins and their fanbase would love to see the veteran back there, the Bruins simply lack the cap space to make this reunion come to fruition.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.