New deal with Bruins 'a dream come true' for Lucic

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New deal with Bruins 'a dream come true' for Lucic

The Bruins saved the biggest piece for last, literally and figuratively, by inking power forward Milan Lucic to a three-year contract extension worth 18 million, and then announcing it on Saturday morning.

Lucic will be the highest paid forward on the Bruins starting in 2013-14 when he will get paid 6 million per year for three seasons, and hell be expected to bring even more now that hes getting paid like an elite NHL player.

Theres obviously going to be more pressure with making more money and you also have to embrace that challenge and embrace the struggle that it takes to win, said Lucic. But I think it all makes us aware because we had that Stanley Cup feeling, but then we lost it. Then we want to do whatever we can to get our hands on the Cup again.

So we definitely have to embrace the struggle and embrace the challenges were going to be faced with along the way. But definitely now that were more of a talk of the town here in Boston, theres obviously pressure that comes with that.

The new deal buys up two years of unrestricted free agency in the current CBA, and still leaves Lucic free for one big contract when he hits 28 years old in the middle of his prime.

Lucic was voted as the toughest player in the NHL last season by his peers, hes one of only three players to total 25 goals and 100 PIMs in each of the last two years and hes a signature player in Bostons run of hockey success over the last five years.

Hes a solid contributor and what I like to call him at times a signature player that likes to be physical and loves to play the game, said Chiarelli. Hes a big part of this team. He marks the end of three signings that he marked the course for over the last few weeks. Im happy that weve completed them.

It shows a commitment by Milan and the rest of the players to commit to the organization, and it shows a commitment from the ownership in Mister Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs. It takes a player and a team to be in concert here.

He joins Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand as young players that have signed extensions over the last week a raft of contracts worth 70.5 million that Bs owner Jeremy Jacobs signed off on before locking out the players at midnight over the same players making too much money. Lucic was happy to know where hell be for the next four years, and vowed to step up his performance both on-ice and off-ice now that hes one of the big pieces in the puzzle.

Ive spent five years in the city and Ive embraced both Boston and the Boston Bruins, said Lucic, who weighed the possibility of waiting until a new CBA was implemented but wanted piece of mind with the three-year deal. Theyve also embraced me. Im happy to be remaining a part of this and very excited about it. Theres no other organization in the NHL that Id rather play for.

We believe in the teams play and I believe in the team that we have here. Were competitors. Being an athlete in Boston has been one of the best experiences in my whole life, and to be able to continue that is a dream come true. To be embraced by the fans has been awesome.

Lucic has become the leagues prototypical power forward over the last couple of seasons while racking up goals, points, hits, and fights (nine last season including a thrashing of Brandon Prust in front of a national audience at Madison Square Garden), but Chiarelli hopes to see more consistency out of his player. That includes the postseason where Lucic has slacked recently (five goals and 15 points in 32 games over the last two years) after bursting on the scene as a big game player in the playoffs during first three years.

This could apply to any of our players and what theyve heard from both me and the coaches is about consistency, said Chiarelli. Its something that all players strive to improve. Milans game is a unique and to play that game at a more consistent pace and level would make him even better than he is now. We all want to be more consistent, including myself.

The signings of Lucic, Marchand and Seguin will make Chiarellis job much easier following this upcoming season with only (restricted) Tuukka Rask, Andrew Ference and Nathan Horton now approaching free agency. Before it appeared that the Bruins were going to face some major decisions after this upcoming season, but now they have a solid core intact that will face adjustments once the new CBA is drawn up, approved and implemented at some point in the future.

Bean: The (incorrect) case for the Bruins signing Kevin Shattenkirk

Bean: The (incorrect) case for the Bruins signing Kevin Shattenkirk

The Bruins should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk. They really shouldn’t. 

Yet they might. Pierre McGuire said on TSN Radio Tuesday that his guess is that Shattenkirk, arguably the best free agent defenseman on the market, will end up in Boston.

It is remarkable how universally against a Shattenkirk megadeal B’s fans have seemingly been. A Twitter poll with over 3,600 votes this month had Bruins fans preferring Boston sign 40-year-old Zdeno Chara to a two-year, $8 million extension than the 28-year-old  Shattenkirk to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal. 

That is obviously the correct conclusion, but considering how hard the false “Chara is old and bad” garbage is pushed in this town, it’s telling that 64 percent would rather he stick around than the team build the defense around Shattenkirk. 

Of course, Shattenkirk is not a bad player just because he’s been overrated in recent seasons. He’s a decent second-pairing defender and strong power play asset who can be penciled in for 40 points a year. The Bruins already have that in Torey Krug, and he makes less than Shattenkirk figures to command. Shattenkirk is also a righty who plays on the right, which is not a need for the Bruins, whereas Krug is a left shot who plays both sides. 

Add in the Bruins’ cap situation due to some bad contracts and they why of Shattenkirk would be a bad signing doesn’t need to be re-hashed. By this point, the explanation’s been given a few times in a few different places. 

So what would the Bruins’ actual case for signing Shattenkirk be? 

TO KEEP IT MOVING 

Last season was encouraging for Bruins fans because it saw them reach the playoffs for the first time in three years while also seeing young talent emerge. Yet they still only made the playoffs by two points, something of which Don Sweeney and Cam Neely are undoubtedly aware. 

So for all the good signs, this could be a fringe playoff team again if more improvements aren’t made, and missing the playoffs for the second time in three years would mark a step back in the eyes of ownership, perhaps putting jobs in danger. It would be a shame if money were spent irresponsibly for the sake of saving jobs, but Shattenkirk would definitely make the Bruins better next season, even if it crippled them financially down the road. 

TO PULL A CHIARELLIAN FREE AGENT SWITCHEROO

With McAvoy set to be a top-pairing player and Brandon Carlo a good second-pairing option, the Bruins do not have a need for a highly paid right-shot defender. That doesn’t mean they don’t have needs elsewhere. 

Last offseason, Peter Chiarelli made the controversial move of trading Taylor Hall, one of the best left wings on the planet. He did it to get Adam Larsson to help build Edmonton’s blue line up, then he went out and signed Milan Lucic in free agency to replace Hall. 

If the Bruins truly have designs on adding Shattenkirk, perhaps they could have something similar in mind: Trade someone like Carlo for either a left-shot defenseman or a left wing, then replace Carlo with Shattenkirk. 

This would still not be financially palatable, however. When the Oilers traded Hall for Larsson, they swapped a player with a $6 million cap hit for a player with a $4.16 million cap hit and replaced the original player (Hall) with a player in Lucic who carried a $6 million cap hit. So essentially they netted one player for an additional $4.16 million. 

Carlo is on his entry level contract, so unless the Bruins traded him for a player on an entry-level deal, they’d be spending a lot of money in any maneuver that involved replacing him with Shattenkirk. 

TO GO ALL-IN ON POST-CLAUDE LIFE

Claude Julien’s detractors lamented his affinity for responsibility. They loved it when Bruce Cassidy was more open to trading chances. 

Well, you like trading chances? Shattenkirk’s your guy. He’s a good skater, a good offensive player and a sub-par defender. You put Krug, Shattenkirk and McAvoy as three of your four top-four defenseman and you’ll be a long way from the days of Chara, Seidenberg and Boychuk, for better or worse. 

BUT, KEEP IN MIND . . . 

They for sure should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk. 

Morning Skate: What does trading a first-rounder get you now?

Morning Skate: What does trading a first-rounder get you now?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while wishing that Gordon Hayward and Paul George were already in Boston, like, yesterday.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman gives his 30 thoughts for the week, including the trade value of a first-round pick right now.

*It could that non-unrestricted free agents steal all of the thunder on July 1 with massive contract extensions a la Connor McDavid.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Detroit Red Wings taking potential fliers on a number of veteran D-men that are out on the free market.

*With free agency right around the corner, the legendary Stan Fischler details the sad end to Bobby Orr’s career in Boston, where he was lied to about the offer extended to him and ended up playing things out with the Chicago Blackhawks in a way that it shouldn’t have gone. The sight of Orr in a Blackhawks sweater is one of the real all-time NHL oddities out there.

*The NCAA is eying college hockey expansion in NHL markets, including the University of Illinois and Pitt, and, from what I’ve been told, perhaps UNLV and maybe even Vanderbilt. This is a great thing for amateur hockey players and anybody that can’t get enough of the game.  

*Ex-Senators defenseman Marc Methot holds no ill will toward the Sens after being dealt from Vegas to the Dallas Stars following his selection in the expansion draft.

*Josh Ho-Sang shares his wisdom to Islanders prospects as a 21-year-old somebody that’s gone through the ups and downs of being in their shoes.

*As we referenced above, Connor McDavid is closing in on a massive contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers that will probably make him the highest paid player in the NHL.

*For something completely different: My heart goes out to this Roslindale family fighting through a situation with a child who has a life-threatening disorder. They have a Go-Fund-Me page, so please give if you can.