It’s a simple question that’s been rumored around social media: Should the Boston Bruins bring back Milan Lucic? Our Black and Gold Hockey writers drop the gloves and go head to head this week…
GAYLE TROIANI: As much as I loved Lucic when he donned the black and gold sweater, I even have a Lucic Winter Classic jersey from the 2010 Fenway game; it’s a hard pass for me. I don’t see what Lucic brings to the ice for this team now. Especially at a cap hit of $6 million this season. He is not worth that kind of money. So, no, thank you!
MIKE SULLIVAN: It’s an ugly truth, but the Bruins’ forward group is softer than Gerber baby food. Our most physical guy in the lineup is probably Trent Frederic; honestly, he doesn’t play that role well. For an organization that generally is defined by physicality, the Bruins don’t have a true brute in their lineup and haven’t for a while. I agree; the cap hit of $6 million makes no sense for a Bruins team that’s already up against salary cap hell to take on. Still, if Sweeney can finagle a deal that allows Calgary to eat most of that money, I would be all for a Milan Lucic revival in 2022-2023.
TROIANI: No doubt the Bruins are missing that physicality, but in today’s NHL, it’s more about speed and skill than it is to be the Big, Bad Bruins. And let’s face it, Lucic is anything but speedy. Not to mention, in the latter years of Lucic’s tenure with Boston, he showed more signs of laziness than he did anything else. I spent more nights yelling at the TV when he was on the ice than I did when the team scored a goal. Don’t you think it would only be worse now?
SULLIVAN: Honestly, your assessment of the NHL and what it takes to win in the league today is spot on, but I still think there is a role for physical guys like Lucic. Look at Tom Wilson from Washington. Ryan Reaves in New York, opposing players are more timid going into corners with guys like them. Lucic could once again be one of those guys. I also believe returning to Boston could revive his willingness to compete and fight for wins as he did for the team in 2011, 2013, etc. The 2015 season of Lucic was almost unbearable, but we all know that’s not what his actual game is defined by. In my opinion, money is the only downside of returning to the team. What Lucic could bring to the team is a part of what this team is missing in the forward group. His role with the 2022-2023 Bruins would be limited, but I believe the value of a physical player is still there in today’s league.
TROIANI: I don’t know, Mike, maybe players are more timid with Wilson because he’s not exactly, well, the cleanest payer. And you’re right there is still a role for physical guys, but when you say limited role, how limited? Wouldn’t it be better to have a fourth-line winger that can give you solid minutes, not someone the opposing team knows is only out there to hit people? The goal is to get younger and faster, not older and slower.
SULLIVAN: While I agree with the timidness due to Wilson’s nasty play, I still think Lucic could serve a purpose on this team. Considering where he’s at in his career, it could be the old memories I have of him in Black and Gold that make me pursue this acquisition. Do I think it’s smart for the Bruins salary cap-wise? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s smart to sign a veteran to take the place of the youth? I don’t. Do I think it would be electric to have #17 back in Boston? Yes, my brain roots for him, even though all signs indicate a “bad idea.”
And there you have it; it looks like Gayle won this battle. Mike is relying on their nostalgia of Lucic instead of what he can offer now. What do you think, Bruins fans? Let us know!