With just over 12 hours until the NHL lockout is expected to begin, the Boston Bruins on Saturday locked up their third young forward in a week, agreeing to a three-year, $18 million extension with Milan Lucic that runs through 2015-16. The deal kicks in after this season, which was the last on the 24-year-old’s current deal.
The contract averages $6 million annually starting in 2013, which will make him the highest-paid forward on the roster in terms of average annual value.
Earlier this week, the Bruins signed the 20-year-old Tyler Seguin to a six-year extension that will average $5.75 million per season. Late last week, they agreed with 24-year-old Brad Marchand on a four-year deal that averages $4.5 million per season.
General manager Peter Chiarelli seems to have his ducks in order with the lockout looming. What the new collective bargaining agreement will look like once the labor dispute is resolved is still very much unclear.
"Part of my job is to plan for this team within the context and within the parameters of the league, the league rules and the CBA," Chiarelli said after the Seguin signing earlier this week. "I just feel that we have flexibility with some of the guys coming up and it doesn't mean we won't sign those players later on but I just feel we've placed more of an importance on getting some of these (younger) guys under contract. We talk openly about the second contract problem and we're trying to fix it. But I try and do my job and I try and move forward and these are some of the core players I am trying to lock up."
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lucic had 26 goals and a career-high 62 assists last season, his fifth with the Bruins. His point total (61) was one point off his career-high total in the Bruins’ championship season of 2010-11.
He was one of six players to have at least 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes on the season.