The general manager of the Boston Bruins, Peter Chiarelli, has been busily working to keep the core of the team together and do so with new, fairly long-term contracts. While that doesn’t mean handing out the massive 14-year contracts that, say, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter got, it still means awarding contracts with lengths that may be shortened by the provisions of a new collective bargaining agreement, whenever one is crafted.
In just the past few days, Chiarelli secured Brad Marchand for four more years and Tyler Seguin for six. Both players are important parts of the team and were among the best producers last season for goals, assists, points and plus-minus rating.
Looking to the other players on the roster whose contracts are preparing to expire, though, Chiarelli definitely has his work cut out for him. Could Milan Lucic, whose contract is set to expire next year and make him a restricted free agent, be next?
Lucic certainly plays the skilled, physical style that the Bruins value in many of their players. Last season, he performed offensively (26 goals, 31 assists) and defensively (201 hits, 135 penalty minutes, many of them incurred by dropping the gloves). He’s part of the team’s top forward line. Plus, with new fatherhood impending for him, a new contract could help feather the nest he’s going to start creating with new wife Brittany Lucic.
He’s also impressed in the past–consider the fact that he scored and then registered a Gordie Howe hat trick in his first week of NHL play during the nine-game trial period teams have for players who are still junior eligible. Yes, his production suffered in 2009-10 when he was hampered by injury, but then he bounced back for a 62-point campaign with 30 goals en route to winning the Stanley Cup. Again he struggled this season when linemate Nathan Horton was downed by a concussion, but if Horton’s back in top form, Lucic could match or exceed his personal bests for production.
As of this writing, Lucic is currently taking part in an informal practice the Bruins are holding at their practice rink. Yesterday’s informal practice brought with it the news of Seguin’s new deal. If there’s another practice scheduled for tomorrow, could it come with the news of Lucic’s extension? Stay tuned.