Los Angeles Kings forward Milan Lucic, entering the final year of his contract, said Monday he's always dreamed of playing for his hometown Vancouver Canucks.
"I honestly don't know what's going to happen moving on," Lucic told TSN 1410 Radio in response to a direct question on the topic. "I mean I have one year left on my contract, and there's a possibility that I can hit the [unrestricted free agent] market. ...
"It's obviously something that's been a dream of mine since I've been a kid, is to play in your hometown and play for the Canucks, but right now the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that."
Lucic, who was traded to the Kings by the Boston Bruins on June 26, will make $6.5 million this season (with an NHL salary-cap charge to the Kings of $3.5 million, according to war-on-ice.com). Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar also is entering his final contract year and seemingly would be a priority for the Kings, who are $4.5 million under this season's $71.4 million salary cap, according to the website.
Lucic, 27, said that all can wait till later, with his focus on helping Los Angeles return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing out one year after winning it all in 2014.
"If you look at the roster, we're still a really deep team that has another chance to make a Cup run," Lucic said. "So right now I'm more worried about that than anything else."
Lucic (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) said he expects his British Columbia background to help him with Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who is from Alberta.
"He loves the Western [Canada] boys," Lucic said. "And obviously my style of play kind of fits his style, y'know, the rough and tough Sutter type, so I'm looking forward to playing for him and to see what it's like to play for a different coach."
Road trips also will be different for Lucic, who will first play at Vancouver on Dec. 28 and later at Boston on Feb. 9.
"I'm interested to see what's it's going to be like, not just in Vancouver, just around the League," Lucic told the "Bro Jake Show." "To see what kind of road presence the Kings have, because being an Original Six team, we get a lot of Bruins fans no matter where we are. So I'm interested to see what it's going to be like in Vancouver and everywhere else."
Lucic, who had 18 goals and 26 assists in 81 games for Boston last season, was traded to Los Angeles for goalie Martin Jones, defenseman prospect Colin Miller, and the 13th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (defenseman Jakub Zboril).