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Kings' offseason hinges on Lucic contract, Brown decision

The Los Angeles Kings can’t start the rest of their offseason plans until they come to some sort of decision on winger Milan Lucic.

That was the message general manager Dean Lombardi told reporters in a teleconference Friday.

“If there’s a domino effect so to speak, that depends. The discussions are much further along with (Lucic) than anything else right now as you can probably imagine and then there’s going to be fallout when something happens there,” Lombardi said.

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He added that “there’s probably some work to be done” and no announcement was imminent.

Lucic has said he and the Kings are “in the same area code” and Lombardi didn’t discount this notion.

“I think he’s a great kid and there’s no question he’s a good fit and that's probably all I can say right now,” Lombardi said.

Lucic is in the final season of a three-year $18 million contract. The Kings were only on the hook for $3.25 million of that salary in 2015-16 with $2.75 million remaining retained by the Boston Bruins. The Kings acquired Lucic last summer in a trade that sent goaltender martin Jones and a 2015 first-round draft choice to Boston. Lucic, 27, fit nicely with the Kings as a top-six forward with 20 goals, 55 points and a plus-26 rating. 

Lombardi was also asked about Dustin Brown, and how the longtime Kings captain fits into the team’s plans. Brown has six years left on an eight-year $47 million contract.

When Brown signed his deal in the 2013 offseason at the age of 28, he had captained the Kings to a Stanley Cup in 2012 and a Western Conference Final appearance in 2013. He would then steward them to another championship in 2013-14. But since the start of 2013-14  the 31-year-old Brown hasn’t reached higher than 28 points or 15 goals in a single season, which is considered well below his pay grade. 

“I don’t think anybody is more frustrated than Dustin himself,” Lombardi said, later adding, “Clearly we need more from him but we need that from a lot of players.”

Before the year, Brown focused more on conditioning and nutrition as he tried to rediscover his game. But he continued to struggle, and was called out by coach Darryl Sutter at points during the year.

In the playoffs, Brown had one point in LA’s five-game loss to the San Jose Sharks. His big moment came in Game 3, when he delivered a crushing hit to the Sharks that led to LA’s game-winning goal, but that was it. Brown has yet to publicly speak with reporters since the Kings’ season ended two weeks ago. 

“The one thing he has done, as you say, he showed up in the best shape he’s ever showed up in this year,” Lombardi said. “The fact he took the initiative to do that shows how much he cares, so but with that said there’s no question that we need more from him and he does himself.”

According to General Fanager, the Kings are locked into 35 total contracts with a salary cap hit of $66.397 for next season. This includes the $2.25 million of Vincent Lecavalier’s salary cap it which is expected to fall off when Lecavalier officially retires. 

Significant Kings UFAs that could be brought back are forward Trevor Lewis ($1.525 million salary cap hit on last contract) and defenseman Luke Schenn ($1.8 million). The Kings have one major restricted free agent in defenseman Brayden McNabb ($650,000).

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

 

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