Canadiens ship Barber, Varone to Penguins for Blandisi, Lucchini


Toronto Maple Leafs' Jordan Schmaltz is rammed into the boards by Montreal Canadiens' Riley Barber fall while reaching for the puck during first period NHL pre-season hockey action in Montreal on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (Paul Chiasson / CP)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have sent forwards Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for fellow forwards Riley Barber and Phil Varone, the team announced Thursday.

Barber and Varone will report to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They’re both slated to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

Barber, a native of Pittsburgh, had 31 points in 39 games for the Canadiens’ minor-league club, the Laval Rocket. The 26-year-old has also suited up for nine games with the Canadiens this season, going pointless. He was originally a sixth-round pick by the Washington Capitals in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Varone, 29, put up 14 points in 27 appearances with the Rocket this season. The 2009 fifth-round pick from Vaughan, Ont., has 97 NHL games to his name — with time spent with the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers — and 17 points.

Blandisi, 25, has split the 2019 campaign between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording five points in 21 games with the big club and 14 points in 26 AHL games.

The 2012 sixth-round pick (Colorado Avalanche) from Markham, Ont., has 101 NHL games under his belt with stints also in Anaheim and New Jersey.

Lucchini — an undrafted native of Trail, B.C. — collected 15 points in 53 games with the WBS Penguins, his second season with the club.

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