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Milan Lucic's Name Being Bandied About In Trade Rumors

BOSTON (CBS) -- For much of the past decade, Boston's hockey team has embraced its tagline of being the "Big, Bad Bruins." That time period, not coincidentally, has lined up with the rising and thriving of bruising left winger Milan Lucic.

First showing up as a 19-year-old in 2007, Lucic embodied everything that Bruins fans wanted in a player. He could score, he could skate, he could hit and he could punch, leaving a trail of bloody, fallen fighters in his wake throughout his first few seasons. He posted exceptional statistical seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12, scoring 56 goals with 67 assists and 256 penalty minutes combined.

Yet since then, in roughly two full seasons' worth of games (165), Lucic has just 37 goals, he doesn't fight much, and all too often he does not appear to be operating with 100 percent effort. That much becomes clear on the nights when Lucic does go all-out, and his impact is immediately visible to anybody paying attention.

And so, with the Bruins sitting just below the mediocrity line this season, and with Lucic providing uninspiring play on a regular basis, the inevitable has happened. Lucic's name has begun to pop up in trade rumors.

As with any player, whether these rumors ever actually turn into a material trade remains highly questionable. After all, Lucic is the proud owner of a modified no-movement clause, so Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli doesn't exactly have a world of options open to him.

So no, it's unlikely that Lucic will be traded anywhere at all ... unless his situation in Boston deteriorated so badly that he wanted to get out and earn his next contract elsewhere.

Nevertheless, when respected Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman mentions Lucic's name, there's something to it.

"I think one of the biggest questions being asked in Boston as an organization right now is, 'What has happened here?' and, 'How long-term is this? What does it mean?'" Friedman said on Calgary radio, per Nichols On Hockey. "I think the Bruins are being asked about him. I think there's a lot of hard, internal questions being asked about, 'Do we do it, or do we think that there's still a lot left to give? Because if we do trade him, we change the makeup of our team in a major way.'"

Obviously, there's not too much in here that's concrete, though he did say, "The only thing I've heard about Lucic I think there's at least one team, I believe, that's asked about him and I don't think there was a deal to be made there."

From that, it can only be gleaned that one team asked the Bruins about Lucic, and perhaps because the Bruins weren't willing to consider it or perhaps because the offer was not nearly enough for the team to part ways with Lucic, it did not materialize.

But what can also be taken is that for the first real time of Lucic's eight-year career, his name figures to be prominently featured in a number of trade rumors.

Yahoo's Puck Daddy promptly shared the Friedman quotes in a story titled "Should the Boston Bruins trade Milan Lucic?" Pro Hockey Talk jumped on it, too: "The Bruins wouldn't really trade Lucic… would they?"

Again, popping up in headlines doesn't necessarily mean a player is going to be traded. If that were the case, the Bruins would have traded for Evander Kane 15 times by now. But still, Lucic's name appearing in these stories makes sense. He's not earning his paycheck, he has one year left on his deal, and it's fair to question whether the Bruins want to continue their investment in a player who's trending the wrong way.

It's also fair to believe that Lucic, still just 26 years old, can once again be the force he was just a few years ago. That player still makes appearances from time to time, like when he carried the puck 200 feet by himself before barreling through a pair of Blackhawks and feeding Torey Krug for a goal in early December.

Yet those eye-popping plays remain few and far between for a player who frustrates fans and front office members alike with his occasional disappearing acts.

Perhaps Lucic's name has been floated around as a motivational tactic, or perhaps the Bruins are seriously considering trading away the player who not long ago represented the embodiment of the team's motto. Whatever the result may be, Lucic's name is out there -- as is the possibility that the Bruins roster looks very, very different by the time April rolls around.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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