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Milan Lucic is entering his seventh season with the Boston Bruins and will once again play an important role as a first-line winger.
The veteran power forward had offseason surgery on his left wrist, which he injured in Game 7 of last season’s second-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Lucic missed the first couple of preseason games as he rehabbed his wrist, but he’s back in the lineup and ready to go for the season opener on Oct. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Position: Left Winger
2013-14 Stats: 24 goals, 35 assists, 59 points in 80 games
Contract: Expires after 2015-16 season, with a $6 million salary-cap hit each year
What He Will Bring The Team
Lucic is one of the premier power forwards in the league. He’s a consistent 20-plus goal scorer, tallies over 90 penalty minutes, fights when necessary and creates tons of space for his teammates by playing a heavy game in all three zones. Lucic also plays an important role on the power play, too, and tallied 12 points with the man advantage in 2013-14. His 15.7 shooting percentage was the second-best among left wingers who tallied 20-plus points last season.
Lucic has been durable for most of his career. He hasn’t missed more than three games in a single season since the start of the 2010-11 campaign. That’s impressive for a player who plays a very physical game each night and set a career-high in hits (240) last season.
Postseason scoring is another strength of Lucic’s game. He’s tallied 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 96 career playoff games and often plays his best hockey when it matters most.
Weakness That Must Be Improved
Consistency has often been a minor issue with Lucic. He had three separate stretches of eight or more consecutive games without scoring goal last season. Lucic might start off a little slow this season because he wasn’t able to skate at full strength for most of the summer due to his wrist surgery, but that shouldn’t prevent him from reaching the 25-goal mark.
Expected Role For 2014-15
Lucic will play his usual left-wing spot on the first line alongside center David Krejci. He also should play a role on the power play as a scorer and a net-front presence. At this stage of his career, he’s unlikely to tally more than 65 points, but that’s OK for Boston because Lucic impacts the game in so many other areas besides scoring.
Projected 2014-15 Stats: 26 goals, 36 assists in 80 games
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