Optimism had already given way to resignation for a lot of Los Angeles Kings fans as the offseason dragged on, but as of today, it appears that Milan Lucic will in fact be leaving the Kings this offseason.
Pierre LeBrun broke the news this morning:
Milan Lucic via text message says he's headed to UFA market. No deal with Kings. Huge, huge name headed to July 1.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 22, 2016
Kings GM Dean Lombardi confirms via text message that Lucic is headed to market.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 22, 2016
Kings GM Dean Lombardi also adding that a letter has gone out officially authorizing Lucic camp to talk to other 29 teams right away— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 22, 2016
It's not necessarily bad news for LA. If Lucic's asking price was $6 million plus, re-signing him would have hamstrung the Kings' salary cap freedom even more than it had been previously. It gives LA room to pursue a free agent and allows them to hold on to their young forwards, including Tyler Toffoli, who will command a major raise after next year. Having said that, Lucic's departure leaves a major hole next to Anze Kopitar, and there are plenty of questions about where the scoring will come from next season beyond Kopitar, Toffoli, and Jeff Carter.
The Lucic news is going to get oversahdowed by expansion news and awards pretty soon, but we'll have more on both the player and the cap situation (with a $73 million cap) in the coming days. And as for his destination? We can only guess who's going to sign him for way too much money. Hopefully...
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/xq9ypaqaTg— Graham Hathway (@GrahamWIIM) June 22, 2016