Former Los Angeles Kings player Milan Lucic was offered longer terms and more money by other teams, but chose Edmonton because he wanted to play with Connor McDavid.
“Getting an opportunity to play with one of the best players I would say of this time, and I know he missed a good chunk of the season last year with an injury, but from what I saw of what he was able to do, he’s definitely up there with the Crosbys of the world…To have the opportunity to play with a player like that doesn’t come around so often.”
Lucic said he was texting with the 19-year-old centre earlier in the day, and the excitement is mutual. Lucic also said he truly believes Edmonton will be contending for a Stanley Cup in a couple of years because of McDavid, and wanted to help make that happen.
Watch Below: Video clips from the news conference with Milan Lucic and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli
Thought to be the top available free agent, the 28-year-old power forward signed a seven-year, US$42-million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Lucic will count $6 million against the Oilers’ salary cap. General Manager Peter Chiarelli said Lucic was offered a longer term and more money from the Oilers, but declined, saying he didn’t want to hamper the team’s salary cap flexibility.
“It’s also about time this team started having a little bit of attitude and a little bit of swagger, because I think that’s been missing over the last couple of years,” Lucic said.
“You know, I can tell you from an opponent’s standpoint, you were never scared or intimidated heading into a game against the Oilers, and I think that’s something that we all have to change as a group.”
Watch Below: Milan Lucic says it’s time the Edmonton Oilers become more intimidating
The Vancouver-born player, who just turned 28 last month, is confident he will hold up physically over the next seven years.
“I’m still young as far as hockey age goes. Just because I played nine years doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot left,” Lucic said, pointing out he’s only missed 10 games in the past six seasons. He feels the move to Edmonton will be refreshing.
“Good thing I have the eastern European strong bones on my side, to be injury free,” he joked, referring to his Yugoslavian heritage.
“I’ve always taken pride on keeping myself in good shape, and I will continue to do that.”
The terms of the deal were confirmed by agent Gerry Johannson in an email to The Associated Press.
Long of the Boston Bruins and more recently a member of the Kings, Lucic brings size, some grit and a knack for the net to Edmonton, perhaps a fit with Connor McDavid on the team’s top line.
Lucic scored 20 goals and 35 assists in 81 games last season for the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton had a void to fill on the left wing after dealing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenceman Adam Larsson on Wednesday.
Edmonton also signed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year contract. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Gustavsson, 31, appeared in 24 games last season with the Boston Bruins, posting an 11-9-1 record, a 2.72 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and one shutout.
The six-foot-four Swede has a 71-64-22 all-time record, a 2.87 GAA, a .902 save percentage.
The Oilers also signed defenceman Mark Fraser to a one-year contract.
With files from The Canadian Press