The Pittsburgh Penguins have sent Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Riley Barber and Phil Varone. All four players in the deal are currently playing in the AHL and will report to their new respective organizations in Laval and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Interestingly, Barber and Varone were both scratched over the weekend for the Rocket and while nothing will likely be confirmed, AHL reporter Mark Divver tweets that it was “related to some kind of off-ice unrest.” What exactly that means isn’t clear, but they both will now get a fresh start with another organization for the end of the season.
All four of these players are scheduled for free agency of one kind or another at the end of the season, with Blandisi and Lucchini both becoming restricted free agents, Barber headed for group VI unrestricted free agency and Varone scheduled to become a regular (group III) unrestricted free agent.
This deal will likely have very little impact at the NHL level, though Blandisi did play 21 games with Pittsburgh earlier this season and has shown himself to be competent at that level. Barber meanwhile spent nine games with Montreal this season, though still doesn’t have an NHL point in 12 career appearances.