The Habs took care of another pending free agent on Friday but in a different manner than usual. Jake Lucchini, who had been on an NHL deal with Montreal, has signed a one-year contract with Laval for next season.
The 26-year-old was acquired from Pittsburgh just prior to the 2020 trade deadline in a four-player AHL swap that also netted pending RFA Joseph Blandisi with Phil Varone and Riley Barber going the other way. Lucchini made a strong impression in limited action before the pandemic hit, notching four goals in eight games, earning himself a two-way NHL deal for 2020-21.
Things didn’t go as well for Lucchini this past season as he notched just three goals and three assists in 28 games while spending a lot of time in the bottom six. Accordingly, it seemed unlikely that the Habs would have tendered him a qualifying offer by the July 26th deadline. This will allow him to remain with the Rocket (where he’ll likely be in the bottom six again) but also not take up one of the 50 contracts each team can carry at any given time.