After eight years, Milan Lucic is heading back to Boston.
Following multiple reports linking the former Boston fan favorite to his former team, Lucic is reportedly signing a one-year, $1 million contract with the Original Six franchise.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Lucic’s deal will also include performance bonuses.
In his final season with the Calgary Flames in 2022-23, Lucic doled out 168 hits while scoring seven goals and posting 19 points over 77 games.
Even though the 35-year-old Lucic is no longer the top-six stalwart he was for most of his first stint with Boston, he is still one of the more feared scrappers in the NHL and a wrecking ball on the forecheck.
“Big, heavy, veteran winger who should come in on a one-year, low-money deal,” one anonymous NHL team executive told LeBrun about Lucic’s value. “Any team that wants size and a fear element will look at him.”
Lucic’s underlying numbers were far from stellar on a lackluster Flames team in 2022-23, especially on the defensive side of things. Even though he stands as a cheaper alternative to Nick Foligno on the fourth line, his defensive metrics represent a step down from what Foligno offered.
But Lucic’s return is not just a nostalgia-influenced avenue to sell a bunch of Centennial Season sweaters this fall.
With Boston needing to fill out a number of multiple roster spots up front with limited cap room, the Bruins desperately needed players willing to sign on for cheap money. Lucic fits that bill, especially if Boston can supplement more of the roster with younger talent.
And if Boston opts to augment their checking line with other younger players like Marc McLaughlin, Johnny Beecher, Oskar Steen, and Jakub Lauko, having a bruiser and veteran presence like Lucic should come in handy with that grouping.
Lucic last played in Boston during the 2014-15 season. Drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2006 NHL Draft, Lucic quickly became a fan favorite in Boston thanks to his mix of size, snarl, and netfront scoring.
He played in 566 games with Boston, scoring 139 goals, 342 points and racking up 772 penalty minutes. Lucic led Boston in goals (30) and was tied for the team lead in points (62) during the Bruins’ Cup-winning 2010-11 campaign.
Lucic remains close with many of his former teammates in Boston, so it comes as little surprise that the winger wants his career to come full circle in 2023-24.
It remains to be seen if he can convince his former teammates in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to join him for another go-around with the Original Six franchise.