Trail native Jake Lucchini signed a two-way contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin announced that the team agreed to terms for a one-year deal with the former Trail Smoke Eaters captain.
The deal will see the 25-year-old Lucchini earn $700,000 in the NHL and $85,000 in the American Hockey League with affiliate Laval Rocket this season.
The Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins traded Lucchini to Laval on Feb. 20 last season along with Joseph Blandisi, for established veterans Phil Varone and Riley Barber.
While many believed the Rocket got the worst of the deal, Lucchini and Blandisi proved good fits for the hockey hotbed, as Lucchini tallied four goals and an assist in eight games, and Blandisi three goals and an assist in four games. But the most telling stat was in the wins and losses columns.
Since Lucchini and Blandisi joined Laval in the AHL’s North Division, the sixth-place Rocket won seven of eight games, all but one against a divisional opponent. And the Rocket enjoyed a margin of victory of at least three goals in six of them, matching their total from the first 54 contests.
Laval Rocket’s end of year review said, “Lucchini is the kind of player that AHL teams need to be successful. He will give effort all the time, and in a league where travel is tough, and most players would rather be elsewhere, players like that make your team go. When injuries and call-ups hit, he’s a player who you wouldn’t mind playing anywhere in your lineup.”
Blandisi was also signed to an extension. Lucchini is the 40th player to sign a contract with the Canadiens for the 2020-21 season. The maximum is 50.
“I loved it there, and I hope they give me the opportunity to return,” Luccini told the Times in a May interview. “They have a really good organization. As far as I know, I think things went well, and if I keep working hard, hopefully I get a shot one day.”
The AHL plans to start its season on Dec. 4, around the same time as the NHL’s projected start.
Lucchini played three seasons for the Smoke Eaters, his final campaign as captain when he placed fourth in BCHL scoring. The dynamic forward then spent four seasons with Michigan Tech in the Western College Hockey Association and registered 104 points (45 goals) in 164 games, also leading his team in goals (16), assists (23) and points (39) in 2017-18. He was also named MVP for the Huskies and earned the Gary Crosby Memorial Award for top scorer.