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UFA of the Day: Milan Lucic

Los Angeles Kings v Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 26: Milan Lucic #17 of the Los Angeles Kings during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 26, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Milan Lucic

If it weren’t for the Kings’ cap crunch, he’d probably already be re-signed. Lucic has been consistent with his wish to stay in Los Angeles, saying way back in February that his “plan is to remain a King and hopefully finish off my career here.”

The cap crunch, though. With Anze Kopitar’s big new deal kicking in next season (Kopitar is one of nine Kings signed for at least the next three years), there just isn’t much money to go around. Plus, GM Dean Lombardi may feel that adding another defenseman is the best way to spend any available cash.

Meanwhile, this is Lucic’s best opportunity to cash in. He just turned 28. He had 20 goals and 28 assists last season. On the open market, he could possibly push for a six-year deal with a cap hit around $6 million.

Two teams -- Vancouver and Edmonton -- are reportedly the favorites to sign Lucic if the Kings can’t. The former is his hometown, and he’s said he’d listen if the Canucks made him an offer. The latter’s GM is his old GM from Boston, Peter Chiarelli, who’s been trying to make the Oilers bigger and tougher. Chiarelli has already added forwards Zack Kassian and Patrick Maroon, but Lucic would give them size and strength in a more prominent role.

Of those two teams, the Oilers may be the best bet. Though they still need to address the defense, the future is bright with Connor McDavid. And the potential to win another championship is important to Lucic.

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.