Milan Lucic has yet to make his debut with the Los Angeles Kings, but there’s already talk of where he’ll be playing in 2016-17.
Could he be heading home to Vancouver?
“I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen moving on,” Lucic told TSN Radio when asked about the possibility of him donning a Canucks jersey.
“It’s obviously something that’s been a dream of mine since I’ve been a kid, is to play in your hometown and play for the Canucks,” he said, acknowledging that there’s a chance he’ll hit the market as an unrestricted free agent next summer. “But right now the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that.”
Lucic was traded to the Kings on the day of the NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the draft (which turned out to be defenceman Jakub Zboril), goaltender Martin Jones (who was then dealt to the San Jose Sharks) and defenceman Colin Miller. (There were rumours the Canucks were trying to land Lucic prior to the Bruins’ deal with the Kings, but that failed to come to fruition.)
The 27-year-old power forward is a polarizing figure among Canucks fans, to say the least. The longtime Bruin played an integral — and antagonistic — role in the teams’ fierce rivalry, budding from the tumultuous 2011 Stanley Cup Final that saw the Bruins hoist the Cup after a Game 7 victory at Rogers Arena.
The bad blood didn’t end there. In December 2013, after a reported bar fight in downtown Vancouver, Lucic told reporters in Boston that he had “no reason left to try and defend my city, and the people of my city,” and that, “Other than being at Rogers Arena, no one will ever see me in downtown Vancouver ever again.”
Lucic did release a statement a few days later that read, “I want to make it clear that regardless of what has happened, I am still – and always will be – proud to be from there. It is home.”
The hot tempers seem to have cooled — for now, anyway — and time and distance always add a little perspective. Only time will tell if there will be a homecoming in Lucic’s NHL future.