It won’t exactly be a blockbuster transaction. However, the word on the street on Milan Lucic (you can be on the street when you check Twitter) is that the Edmonton Oilers are going to announce the signing of two pretty good players shortly. Curtis Stock, a former writer at The Edmonton Journal, tweeted from his verified account that Milan Lucic and Jason Demers are going to be announced as signed by the Oilers on July 1st. Free agents aren’t permitted to sign until Friday, so that’s a possible reason for the delay. The signings aren’t official at this time, however, I’m going to assume that Stock has a reliable source and take a look at Edmonton with that presumption.
Lucic, who was listed as the No. 2 unrestricted free agent with thespec.com, is a 28-year-old Canadian left winger who has spent most of his career with the Boston Bruins. He was a part of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and there is a connection to the Oilers’ current management their. Peter Chiarelli, the relatively new GM in Edmonton, was GM of the Bruins during their Cup victory. Lucic is not the most proficient scoring forward, but he still has 159 goals in 647 regular-season NHL games. Furthermore, he’s a strong player when it comes to the plus/minus statistic, as he went +26 for the Los Angeles Kings in the recently completed season.
How deep the Oilers are in the left-wing position is debatable and maybe even subject to change. But the Oilers have a clear talent in Taylor Hall, a player who has 328 points in 381 career games. Patrick Maroon also plays left wing, and he played above his normal averages in 16 games with the Oilers last season, tallying 14 points in those games. Lastly, the Oilers also have Benoit Pouliot as an effective left winger, meaning that they could be four deep in the position.
It will be interesting to see if Maroon’s improved stats in Edmonton hold up over the long-term going forward. In the big picture, he is not even a half-point-per-game forward when it comes to career stats. But if we take him and Pouliot as competing for a spot on the third line, then it makes Edmonton look deep in the left wing position, pending an official announcement on Lucic. Trade rumors are certainly going to start due to what will be perceived as depth, and I think it’s Hall’s name and Pouliot’s name that will be mentioned in those rumors.
The other player in the Stock tweets is Demers, a defenseman who played last season with Dallas. He was listed as the No. 9 unrestricted free agent with thespec.com and described as follows: “Jason Demers, Dallas Stars, right defenseman: He’s solid, dependable, and he shoots right-handed. In some cases, that’s enough to make you a $5 million player.”
The details of the contract and official word from the Oilers are both still pending. However, in my experience, rumors like this that come from a journalist with big-newspaper connections almost always have substance, and Milan Lucic has substance.