The Oprah of contract extensions continues to cross off items on his 2013 summer to-do list. Milan Lucic is the latest forward to benefit from Peter Chiarelli's proactive General Managing, signing a 3-year, $18 million extension just ahead of the expiration of the CBA.
It's just under a $2 million raise on the contract Lucic will run out this year (hopefully). It makes Lucic the highest-paid forward on the team.
You could see this deal coming from a mile away. After Chiarelli locked up Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand to extensions worth $4.5 and $5.75 per year, it didn't take a genius to predict Lucic was going to come in above them.
After all, if you want to get the most out of those two deals -- and Chiarelli has to, since they're probably both a little inflated -- you want Lucic in the line-up.
Having a guy like Lucic on the ice makes other forwards feel nigh invincible. Who's going to mess with you when it means this dude's on his way over to mess back? Marchand and Seguin aren't big guys, but they'll always play bigger, grittier, and more confident hockey so long as Lucic is around to inspire confidence and model toughness.
And that's the second thing: Lucic may not be the sole reason the Bruins' are considered the league's toughest team, but he's one of the main ones. He hasn't just developed into one of the game's premier power forwards -- he's become the template. Every team in the league aspires to have a guy like him.
It's tough to put market value on a guy that's in a class all his own.
All that said, the Bruins' contract situation is getting silly. That's $70 million Chiarelli has shelled out in the last week alone, pushing the team to $57.35 million committed to the 2013-14 season already. And that's with nearly $10 million coming off the books in goal. Sure, they're going to remain contenders for awhile, but any changes to the salary cap coming out of this new CBA and the Bruins are going to find themselves in some real trouble.