Height / Weight: 6'3", 233 lbs.
Born: June 7, 1988 (28 years old)
Birthplace: Vancouver, BC
Who Is He?:
If you had to list players in the NHL who tend to raise the ire of opposing fans and teams, Milan Lucic would definitely be somewhere near the top. If Justin Abdelkader is the type of player who "pulls the piano", Milan Lucic lifts up the whole piano and throws it out the window. Lucic is a big-bodied winger who is definitely not afraid to throw his weight around the rink while simultaneously getting under the skin of opposing teams and players, but he also possesses the ability to find the back of the net. Milan is a power-forward (some might say "goon") in every sense of the word.
You may remember Milan checking to see if Danny DeKeyser's "equipment" worked properly during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Or, perhaps, you may remember when Milan broke the rules of sportsmanship and threatened to shorten of the lifespan of Montreal's, Dale Weise, at the conclusion of the Boston and Montreal series that same postseason. Despite these acts of villainy, Lucic could still be an attractive free agent for the Detroit Red Wings to purse.
Why Detroit Would Be Interested:
After being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a consecutive year, Ken Holland stated that he realized Detroit's need to get bigger and more physical. Milan Lucic is definitely big, and Milan Lucic is definitely physical. Lucic would not only bring a much-needed large and physical frame to Hockeytown, he would also bring a style of play that has not been seen in Detroit for quite some time. For a player who plays such a physical style of hockey, Milan has only missed ten regular-season games since the 2010-11 NHL season.
Just for fun, let's take a look at how Detroit's resident power-forward, Justin Abdelkader, stacks up against Milan Lucic:
Chart provided by http://ownthepuck.blogspot.ca
Granted, compared (and no offense) to Justin Abdelkader, Milan Lucic was on a much more productive Los Angeles Kings team last season, but this chart gives you a sense of just how effective of a power-forward Lucic can be. Love him or hate him, Milan Lucic plays his role well. With other "tough-guys" in the NHL always looking to impose their will on young and talented players like Dylan Larkin, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have somebody like Lucic on the bench for the Red Wings.
Aside from his physical and goal-scoring contributions, Lucic also holds a decent career face-off win percentage. In his nine NHL seasons, Milan has maintained a 44.2% success rate in the face-off circle. Winning face-offs leads to puck possession, and puck-possession leads (or hopefully does) to goals, and the Red Wings certainly need to score more goals in 2016-17.
Should Detroit Sign Him?:
There will obviously be no shortage of teams looking to sign a player like Milan Lucic come July 1st. It also may be hard to draw Lucic away from teams such as Edmonton and Vancouver, which would provide Milan a closer proximity to his hometown of Vancouver, but if Ken Holland is unable to bring Steven Stamkos to Detroit, Milan Lucic would not be a terrible second option to explore, if the price/term is right. Milan would bring a lot of things to Detroit that the Red Wings were missing last season, it may be a tough pill for some loyal Red Wings fans to swallow, but also one that could possibly pay off.
The Red Wings are looking to fill the hole left by Pavel Datsyuk's departure at the center position, but adding a gritty winger like Lucic would most certainly give Detroit's offense a new and tougher look. Milan's grit would be a nice compliment to more finesse-style wingers like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. A player like Lucic could also provide a shot in the arm to a player like Riley Sheahan.
What do you think? Would Milan Lucic make a positive impact on the Detroit Red Wings?