There is a new start for Milan Lucic in Alberta.
Earlier today, it has been reported that Lucic accepted to waive his no-movement clause in a trade with the Calgary Flames. The Edmonton Oilers are getting forward James Neal in return in the deal.
According to Oilers insider Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, GM Ken Holland and Flames general manager Brad Treliving started discussing this trade possibility two weeks ago.
It appears that Lucic already knows what role he will take on in Calgary seeing that the Flames were looking to sign tough guy Ryan Reaves last summer. With Lucic now in the fold, he is expected to be there to protect Johnny Gaudreau, who’s been pushed around more than once since entering the NHL.
Lucic came to Edmonton when he was signed by former GM Peter Chiarelli back on July 1, 2016, to a seven-year deal worth $6 million annually. Fans were outraged by the amount of money he was getting and the veteran proved them right.
Despite having a strong 2016-17 season, helping the Oilers to the playoffs with a 23-goal season. In the following two seasons, though, Lucic scored just 16 goals.
Neal was signed by the Flames last July as a free agent and lasted just one year in Calgary after some a difficult season. In each of his 10 seasons in the NHL, Neal reached the 20-goal plateau until 2018-19 in which he scored just seven goals in 63 games for the Flames. Like Lucic, Neal has four more years left on his contract, but he has a smaller cap hit of $5.75 million.
As for Neal, he could find a suitable spot next to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton.
The change of scenery and new responsibilities for Lucic might be what makes him a valuable player once again.