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Despite his denial, Milan Lucic to Oilers rumors are heating up

Los Angeles Kings v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 14: Milan Lucic #17 of the Los Angeles Kings in action against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 14, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Kings 1-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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We’re still in the “interview/conversation” period before free agency begins, so Milan Lucic and the Edmonton Oilers would be very unlikely to back up the heavy rumors that they’ve got a deal done.

Such talk is all over the place on Tuesday, though.

Sportsnet’s Gene Principe reported that the two sides were somewhere between 95 and 100 percent certain to reach a deal once July 1 rolls around, according to his sources.

The Edmonton Journal’s Curtis Stock notes the same, crediting a “good source.”

As the Edmonton Journal notes, the Oilers are high on Lucic’s list of landing spots.

Oilers insider Bob Stauffer has said the Oilers are #2 on Lucic’s list of likely destinations, after the Anaheim Ducks. Stauffer added he thought it was more likely the Oilers would trade for a right shot d-man than sign Demers.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said earlier today on Vancouver radio that Lucic might be willing to give the Oilers a “hometown discount” because Lucic is keen to play with Connor McDavid in the new arena.

That’s a lot of smoke, yet Lucic showed some fire in downplaying the rumors.

Some wonder if Lucic’s denial mainly comes down to this being a time when it’s a little fuzzy as far as how specific you can get regarding the parameters of a deal.

One thing seems indisputable: there are plenty of teams who covet the power forward.

Lucic can bring some size and snarl to the Oilers’ finesse-heavy forwards group, yet there’s no denying that Edmonton’s bigger area of need is defense.

The Edmonton Journal’s Stock also reports that they’re eyeing Jason Demers in that regard:

This is a situation heavy in “if” statements, but one divisive “if” revolves around the belief that signing Lucic would prompt a Taylor Hall trade.

Again, don’t expect anything official until Friday.

Once the free agent frenzy rolls around, we might see some real fireworks from Edmonton.

More on Lucic

Testing the market

His UFA of the Day entry

Early connections to Oilers and Canucks