The biggest move the Calgary Flames pulled off this summer was sending James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers for Milan Lucic. From the outside, this move was viewed as two teams swapping problematic players who are overpaid in relation to their production.
Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames, however, sees Lucic as a potential game-changing acquisition for the organization.
“You don't really realize how big a presence he is on the ice,” Gaudreau told Adam Kimelman of NHL.com. “When you play against a team like that and you have a player like that who can get into the corners, big body, get in front of the net, he really helps your team. I think that's what we've been looking for in our team. I think he can push us over the edge here.”
Sure, the power forward used to be a 20-goal talent, but it’s been two seasons since we’ve seen that side of him. The Vancouver, BC. native has notched just 16 goals since the start of the 2017-18 campaign. It’s hard to imagine that he is the missing link to Calgary’s championship aspirations.
Could a change of scenery bring forward better results from Lucic? It’s likely. He tallied just six goals and 20 points last season. So the bar, while extremely low, should be topped if he stays healthy.
But if the Flames are contending for the Stanley Cup, it will probably be for reasons other than Lucic.
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