The game clock ticked down under seven minutes left in the first period, but it was Ryan Miller’s bell that was about to get rung. On Saturday, November 12th, 2011 in Boston’s TD Garden, in one of the defining moments of the 2011-12 Sabres season, Milan Lucic steamrolled through goalie Ryan Miller.
Miller was never the same. The team wasn’t either.
Now, fast forward nearly half a decade and one team later, after hitting everything in his path, Lucic is about to hit something else: free agency.
The L.A. Kings who are up against the salary cap still need to re-sign young forwards Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli over the next year, while also making a decision on unrestricted free agent defenseman Luke Schenn and finding a backup goalie. So re-signing Lucic isn’t in the cards.
Lucic earned $6 million in each of his last three seasons. And though he isn’t putting up 30 goals a year like he did early in his career in Boston, the 28 year old still a valuable asset. He tallied 20 goals and 35 assists in 2015-16 playing on a talented Kings’ roster.
The Sabres need a winger. Would you, under any circumstances, want him? Could you forgive him and actually cheer for the bruiser? Ask yourself, ultimately, would he make the team better?