Milan Lucic chooses McDavid, Chiarelli, Rogers Place, over money

Milan Lucic sign with the Oilers for three reasons: Connor McDavid, Peter Chiarelli, and Rogers Place, in that order.

'I truly believe in a couple of years we're going to be contending for the Stanley Cup'

Newest Oiler Milan Lucic talks about why the sought-after free agent signed with Edmonton 1:11

Milan Lucic chose Connor McDavid, Peter Chiarelli, and Rogers Place over money.

Getting an opportunity to play with "one of the best players" was irresistible, Lucic told reporters Friday.

"He's definitely up there with the [Sidney] Crosbys of the world. An opportunity to play with a player like that doesn't come around too often."

Lucic said he texted McDavid after signing with the Oilers Friday morning.

"It's good to see that he's excited that I'm here as well. Hopefully Todd [McLellan] puts us on the same line together so he can set me up for a few this season," he said with a smile.

"I truly believe in a couple of years we're going to be contending for the Stanley Cup because we have a player like that."

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli and Milan Lucic speak with reporters Friday. (CBC)

But it was his loyalty to his former and current general manager Chiarelli that made signing a no brainer.

He watched as Chiarelli built a cup-winning team in Boston and has no doubt he can do the same in Edmonton.

"It's about time the team starts heading in the right direction," he said. "It's also about time this team starts having a little bit of attitude and a little bit of swagger because I think that's been missing over the last couple of years.

'Need to send a message'

"From an opponent's standpoint you were never scared or intimidated heading into a game with the Oilers.

"We need to send a message from the first puck drop."

Lucic was offered more money over a longer term, by at least one other team but signed with the Oilers, Chiarelli said.

"He's going to change a lot of things here, the way he plays, the way he leads," he said. "Everything about this guy is terrific. He's a good person."

The Oilers are paying Lucic $42 million over seven years.

As for his tough-guy style, much has been made about the wear and tear Lucic's game takes on a body. Signing someone who averages, by his estimate 250 hits a year, for seven years is seen by some as an expensive risk.

"I just turned 28 this month. I'm still young as far as hockey age goes," he said.

He points to his missing only four games to injury over his last six seasons.

Finally he points to Roger's Place over his shoulder.

"Not only I think it's the best arena in hockey, I think it's the best arena in the world. And it's another reason I wanted to be a part of it."