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Laval Rocket season review: Jake Lucchini made an impression after being acquired

The Rocket forward was hitting his stride as the season ended.

Club de hockey Canadien inc

A few hours before Jake Lucchini’s first game with the Laval Rocket, Joël Bouchard met with the media to discuss the two newest acquisitions: Joseph Blandisi and Lucchini. The phrase he used to describe Lucchini was that he was a left-handed Joe Cox.

Having a player on an NHL contract compared to a player who had just signed his first AHL contract after being a tryout the year before may seem negative, but when you understand where Bouchard was coming from, it was a significant compliment.

Lucchini may not have NHL-level skill, but he makes up for it with NHL-level competitiveness. Like Cox, he is relentless, and when you work hard under Bouchard you are rewarded.

It was a case study in the hypothesis many have with Bouchard’s coaching. He has shown he has the ability to get the most out of players who give their best most of the time. In 53 games with the Wilkes-Barre Penguins, Lucchini had seven goals and eight assists (0.28 points per game).

In eight games with the Rocket, he had four goals and one assist (0.63 points per game). Lucchini mostly played in the middle six, but due to injuries he did get some additional ice time. In the small sample size he proved he is the type of player who can thrive under a coach like Bouchard.

While Lucchini’s four goals on nine shots is not a sustainable pace, what sticks out when looking back at those goals is where they are coming from.

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.

He’s not going to be a top AHL scorer, and he may always be on the outside looking in at an NHL role, but he’s also the type of player who can get a look and make an impression in training camp.

In his eight games with Laval, he played on every line for Bouchard as he showed his worth and ended up scoring his four goals in his last four games, three of which came in his last two.

The 2019-20 season was also his first full professional year. After graduating from Michigan Tech, where he was captain, he played 15 games for Wilkes-Barre in 2018-19, scoring six goals and adding an assist.

His entry-level contract ends at the end of the season, and he’s the type of player that the Montreal Canadiens have been focusing on bringing back so far this off-season. Lucchini turned 25 in May, and his NHL outlook will make it tough for him to secure an NHL contract, but he has shown enough that Marc Bergevin and Bouchard should know what they are getting.