’11-12 Bruins Season in Review: Milan Lucic

                Without a no-trade clause, Lucic might be a solid asset for the Bruins to package in an effort to acquire Rick Nash or an equivalent first-line winger that could be the difference in Boston advancing beyond the first round next season. However, early indications are general manager Peter Chiarelli isn’t inclined to move any of his top six or seven forwards.

                So it looks like Lucic’s Bruins career will continue. And the club has to hope he uses the disappointments of last season, and the fact that he’s going into the last year of his contract, as inspiration for a year worthy of his salary and his status as a first-line left winger.

Stats

Regular season: 81 GP, 26-35-61, plus-7

Playoffs: 7 GP, 0-3-3, plus-2

Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 at a cap hit of $4,083,333 per season

Regular season recap

Highlight: Although fans love to watch Lucic’s collision with Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller over and over, Lucic’s best game of the regular season probably came against Nashville Feb. 11. The veteran continued to solidify his status as one of the league’s best power forwards with the game-tying goal with just 1:07 left in regulation during a 6-on-4 situation. The goal was his 20th, making him the first player in the NHL this season to reach 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes. He also drew the penalty before that man advantage and finished with seven shots on goal in a 4-3 shootout win

Lowlight: Not only did Lucic fail to record a point in 20:33 of ice time Dec. 8 against Florida, he also turned over the puck to Dmitry Kulikov in the Florida zone leading to the Panthers’ game-winning rush in a 2-0 Bruins loss. Lucic was minus-2 with just two shots on goal.

Playoff recap: Karl Alzner’s gesture that Lucic was a “cry baby” might’ve been wrong, but there was no denying that Lucic was against a sucker unable to keep himself from getting into trouble (thus the double-minor that resulted from the scrum with Alzner) and also a player who seems to have lost his postseason scoring touch. The Bruins didn’t just need more from Lucic, they needed something. And he didn’t produce either with his hands or his physicality.

Grade: C-plus. Sixty-one points would be great for a second- or third-line energy player. But Lucic is supposed to be so much more and 2011-12 was a step back rather than forward for his development into a top-notch go-to player.

Carnac predicts … trade rumors will continue to swirl around Lucic depending on how he and the Bruins start next season. Like they did the first time around, the Bruins would probably move to lock up Lucic during his last season to take the doubts out of the equation and show how in love they are with his skill set as one of those “true Bruins.”

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