It’s not easy to tell a player he has been traded, and it’s especially hard when that player had a huge role in your team’s success for nearly a decade.
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney had to make that call to Milan Lucic on Friday. The veteran left winger was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, goaltender Martin Jones and defenseman Colin Miller.
“I can’t tell you how difficult the call was to make,” Sweeney told reporters Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. “And I expressed that to Milan. I have to thank both Milan and Doug Hamilton (who was traded to the Calgary Flames) for being part of the Bruins organization. I’ve been with Milan from Day 1 when he arrived with our group. That was a very difficult conversation to have.”
Lucic has one more year left on his contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016. He currently has a $6 million salary cap hit, which likely will increase in his next contract. Fitting that into the Bruins’ salary structure, which currently includes eight players with a cap hit of $4 million or higher, wasn’t going to be easy.
“I just felt the situation we were in, it was going to be very difficult to extend the offer to the level I thought it would take to retain Milan going forward,” Sweeney said. “Our hockey club has significant dollars tied up in a number of players in that same category, and it would have been hard to place in all likelihood two more players in that group.”
Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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