Greater Trail products Jake Lucchini and Ross Armour will skate in NHL Development camps this week.
Lucchini returns for his second year at the Pittsburgh Penguins camp which started Wednesday and wraps up Friday, while Armour makes his first visit to Nashville and the Predators’ camp.
Lucchini continued to impress this season. After finishing his university career at Michigan Tech with a team leading 11 goals and 26 points, the former Trail Smoke Eater was signed to an entry-level contract by the Penguins on Mar. 11. Lucchini finished the season with Pittsburgh’s American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins where he collected six goals and seven points in 15 games.
The 21-year-old Armour, meanwhile, played his first season of NCAA Div. 1 hockey at Bemidji State University in Minnesota where he led all freshmen players with 12 assists and was named WCHA Player of the Week on Dec. 17 and Jan. 21. Armour played three seasons with the Smoke Eaters accumulating 45 goals, 93 assists and 138 points in 139 regular season games.
The Hockey Writers featured Lucchini as one of the “5 Penguins to Watch at Development Camp,” saying; “Lucchini is one of the oldest development camp invitees at 24 years old, which also means he’s one of the most experienced. The 5-foot-11 forward totaled 45 goals and 104 points in his collegiate career and was the team’s captain as a senior. With his offensive potential, could he be another undrafted college free agent success story like Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese?”
Two former Smoke Eaters, Kale Howarth and Seth Barton, will also compete in the NHL development camps. Howarth, 22, was a 2017 Columbus Blue Jackets’ fifth round draft pick and participated in the past Blue Jackets camp, while Barton went 81st overall in the 2018 draft, selected by the Detroit Red Wings. The 20-year-old defenceman also participated in the Wings development camp last year and is back again this year.
Howarth completed his first year at University of Connecticut where he scored five goals and 11 points, while Barton completed his freshman year at UMass-Lowell with two goals and 10 points
The camps combine the NHL teams top prospects, including all the 2019 draft picks and some past drafted players, as well as highly-touted yet undrafted professional, Junior, and University players. Neither Armour and Lucchini were drafted but have played their way onto the respective radar of the NHL clubs.
The development camps put the players through two days of practices and feature a variety of off-ice presentations and activities focused on helping players transition to becoming a professional athlete. On the final day, camps divide the players into four teams that compete in a highly entertaining and competitive 3-on-3 tournament.
Follow the players at their respective NHL websites, with the final day’s 3-on-3 games live streamed.