The Penguins have traded forwards Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini to the Canadiens in exchange for forwards Riley Barber and Phil Varone. The Colorado Avalanche selected the 25-year-old in the sixth round in 2012. All four players in the deal are now playing in the AHL and will report to their new respective organizations in Laval and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. (Blandisi has 101 career games of National Hockey League experience which means he's not eligible for Group 6 free agency.) While at this point it seems unlikely that Lucchini will be tendered a qualifying offer, a good showing from Blandisi could help keep him around beyond this season. While Varone (Group 3) and Barber (Group 6) will be unrestricted free agents this summer, both Blandisi and Lucchini will be restricted free agents. He's totaled 13 goals and 31 points with the Rocket.
He is the son of Don Barber, a forward with the Minnesota North Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and San Jose Sharks throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The 26-year-old has also suited up for nine games with the Canadiens this season, going pointless. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Varone, 29, has four goals and 14 points in 27 games with the Rocket this season.
This deal will likely have very little impact at the National Hockey League level, though Blandisi did play 21 games with Pittsburgh earlier this season and has shown himself to be competent at that level. While he was a decent offensive performer at the NCAA level, it hasn't translated to the pros as he has just seven goals and eight assists in 53 AHL contests this season.
In 515 career AHL games, split between Rochester, Binghamton, Lehigh Valley and Laval, Varone has recorded 127 goals, 283 assists and 410 points. The Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent from Michigan Tech in March of 2019.
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Nebraska Basketball Previews Michigan State
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