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Lucic looking forward to life with L.A. Kings

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It almost seems too soon to think of Milan Lucic as a former Boston Bruin, but the hard-nosed left wing is fitting in at his new home.

One day after Lucic took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe thanking fans and the Bruins organization, he delivered a good line about how his enforcing style will mesh with the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm a Gemini, so I've got that split personality where you get that short fuse," Lucic said here Saturday. "I'm not coming here to change the culture of the team. I'm just kind of coming here to add more to it."

Astrology aside, signs point to Los Angeles as the ideal fit for Lucic, a place where he can reboot his career and bring his nasty element to the Western Conference. Lucic, who turned 27 on June 7, was traded to the Kings 19 days later for goalie Martin Jones, defenseman prospect Colin Miller, and the 13th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (defenseman Jakub Zboril).

Lucic, in shorts and slip-on shoes, toured the Kings practice facility for the first time and said he looked forward to settling on the West Coast -- "the Southern Cali living" -- a big change from Boston's harsh winters.

"I'm definitely leaving my [snow] shovels back in Boston," he said.

Lucic also sounded ready to turn the page on his Bruins career. He scored 18 goals last season, his lowest total in a full NHL season since 2008-09. Part of that was because Lucic didn't have center David Krejci, who missed nearly half the season with a knee injury.

"I guess I kind of took it for granted playing with such a great player like that," Lucic said. "When he was out of the lineup, I didn't adjust real well off the start. But I finished the season real well the last couple of months and I was able to kind of get my confidence back, and that's what I'm building off this summer, physically and mentally."

It's a pivotal season for Lucic, who will be an unrestricted free agent next July. He said he hasn't had any preliminary discussions about a contract extension with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who is trying to re-sign center Anze Kopitar.

Lombardi last month said Kopitar is his first priority but expressed optimism Lucic can be re-signed. Lucic will make $6.5 million this season (an NHL salary-cap charge of $6 million), according to war-on-ice.com.

"As far as this group, these guys like each other," Lombardi said. "I think we got an environment where guys want to stay, have a chance to win. So we'll see how it works out."

Lucic said it will be easy to be invested in the two-time Stanley Cup champions (2012, 2014) despite his expiring contract. He will likely be tried on a line with Kopitar and right wing Marian Gaborik.

"My game is built off of emotion," Lucic said. "Regardless if I'm going to be here for one year or 10 years, I'm buying in emotionally … when you look at the lineup and you look at the players that I have the opportunity to come in and play with, you don't get many opportunities to play with a group of guys like this that have accomplished what they've accomplished over the last couple of seasons."

As Lucic talked, a group of fans waited for him, including two wearing his No. 17 Bruins jersey. It might not be until Feb. 9 that that part of his career can truly be put in the past tense. That's when Los Angeles visits Boston, a date Lucic noted.

"I think it's a good thing, because it will give me more than enough time to settle with this team before having to deal with an emotional comeback like that," he said. "It was a great eight years. I have no regrets with everything that I got to experience over there and everything I did with that team. Then again, I'm looking so forward to coming here and getting that fresh start and kind of getting re-energized and feeling like a rookie again.

"This is one of the most exciting [feelings] I've ever felt heading into a season."

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