The Portland Pirates finished rock bottom of the AHL standings and allowed a league high 284 goals.
Taking six games to win at home and finishing the season by losing their last ten games straight, epitomises their poor season.
One of very few bright spots in this year of strife was a young man named Lucas Lessio.
Selected 56th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2011 NHL draft, Lessio was perhaps a surprise package to be picked so early.
He was late into junior hockey and only competed in three seasons for Oshawa Generals.
Thanks to a hand injury in his last junior season, Lessio could only manage 35 regular games and wasn’t quite the same offensive force come the post-season as he’d been before.
He did gain his first taste of the professional game at the end of last season and recorded one multi-point effort (1g-1A) in five games before adding two assists in three playoff games.
Often playing with NHL rookie sensation Boone Jenner in Oshawa, Lessio was pretty much a point per game player with goal scoring his forte. Of his 150 points in junior, 80 were attained by hitting the twine and it’s a skill he didn’t lose coming into his first full professional season.
Despite the struggles of Portland during the season, Lessio’s play and production were fantastic as he finished the year as the teams leading goal scorer and second in points.
A total of 29 goals would see him finish 9th in the league and 30th in points.
Finishing as the fourth best rookie in the AHL must be a commendable achievement under such circumstances.
Lessio would even manage to register his first professional hat-trick but it was a mixed day as Portland contrived to blow a two goal lead with under two minutes to play before losing in overtime to Manchester Monarchs.
Lacking in experience, I’d imagine it’s pretty unlikely we’ll see Lessio in the NHL next season barring injuries but big things will be expected of him in his second year as a professional.
Photo: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates