The Philadelphia Flyers have sure been busy these days, and things figure to get even spicier as the offseason rolls along. The new front office is committing to the rebuild, and seemingly nobody is untouchable on the trade front. As for the unrestricted free agent market, which opens in a little over a week, the Flyers will wisely sit out on the big names. But as John Tortorella has pointed out, they will still look to add pieces to fill short-term needs on the edges of the roster. This got me to thinking, wouldn’t Milan Lucic be a good fit for this team in its current situation?
Fresh off a 7-year, $42 million contract that aged like fine soda, the 35-year old Lucic is nearing the end of his NHL career. But he can still be a useful depth piece for a bit longer. Obviously, the Flyers won’t be contending anytime soon, but by signing Lucic to a one-year, low-money deal, we can see a win-win situation here.
The Philadelphia Flyers won’t be breaking the bank in the free agent market, but veteran winger Milan Lucic is an intriguing candidate for them.
If Milan Lucic signed on the dotted line with the Orange and Black, they could essentially give him the minutes vacated by James van Riemsdyk, skating him for 12-15 minutes a night in a third-line capacity. You can also stick his big body in front of the net on the second power play unit. On top of this, doesn’t Lucic just scream “Torts guy“? A battle-tested warrior who rarely misses a game and always gives an honest effort despite his limitations, Lucic will probably be courted by several teams looking to add a veteran influence. And the Flyers should be among that group.
The entire Flyers organization is shallow at left wing, and Lucic would act as an effective stopgap for this season while management maneuvers for the future and reworks the pipeline. If we were talking about the right side here, then you could forget about it, because the Flyers have a glut of right wings to deal with at the moment. But things line up well for Lucic and the Flyers. The endgame in signing Lucic for a single season would be to gain an asset at the deadline for him. Lucic would need to play well enough to justify a decent return, so there is risk involved, but it’s a worthwhile gamble.
The Flyers aren’t in a position to bring in big names this offseason. But a player like Milan Lucic would provide a dependable veteran presence that fits the culture they’re trying to build, and he can end up netting the Flyers an asset or two at the deadline if he performs well enough. Keep in mind that if Lucic is desiring a return with his original club, the Boston Bruins, they are capped out and likely wouldn’t have the money to sign him this offseason. Trading for him later in the season is a different story; however, and the Flyers would be just fine keeping him warm for Boston if the price is right at that time (as long as Danny Briere remembers to trade a pending UFA, unlike some other GMs we could mention). Conversely, if it turns out that Lucic is cooked, it’s really not a huge deal. This is the kind of move that’s worth a long look from Briere and company.
With Ryan Ellis taking up a spot on Long-Term Injured Reserve, the Flyers will have plenty of room to fit a cheap contract for someone like Lucic, whose price tag will likely be $2 million or less. Would I advocate giving him a 2-year deal if he drives somewhat of a hard bargain? It’s a tough call, but it might be worth looking into if the Flyers don’t make any other signings of note. Additionally, if the NHL’s salary cap finally makes a big leap for the 2024-25 season, then there wouldn’t seem to be any issues with adding the extra year.
Milan Lucic on a cheap, short deal would theoretically appease both factions of Flyers fans. He fits the “old school” mentality that some still pine for, but he also fits the bill of providing an acceptable lineup option who won’t block anyone of consequence coming up in the organization right now. Milan Lucic could definitely hold down the fort for a little while for the Flyers. It’s not exciting, but it’s very practical in the team’s current situation.