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Lessio: Decision to Sign with Coyotes was Easy

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE -- Coyotes prospect Lucas Lessio notched a hat trick on Tuesday night in an Ontario Hockey League exhibition game - a week after signing an entry-level contract with Phoenix.

Lucas Lessio

“For me, it was an easy decision to sign with the Coyotes,” Lessio said. “They play the game hard and they play the game right. I definitely try to model my game after how the players on the Coyotes play the game. And I think they have the best management and coaching in the NHL, so I’m just really happy to be a part of that organization now.”

Lessio, whom the Coyotes selected with the 56th overall pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is slated to play the 2012-13 season for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. The power forward has notched 61 goals and 52 assists in 132 games for Oshawa over the past two seasons.

So, how many goals and assists does he plan to score this season?

“Earlier in my junior career I used to set goals and say ‘I want to score X amount of goals this season,’ but I found those numbers were just getting into my head,” Lessio said. “After talking to guys in the NHL, my goals now are just to do whatever I can for the team, and the numbers and the production will follow along with that. I just like to focus on the steps leading to the goal and not the goal. So, right now I’m just trying to stay focused on the details of the game and getting better on both ends of the ice, and if I do that and I work hard everyday, I’m sure the numbers will come along with that.”

He added, “It’s all about progression and I just want to progress.”

Photo by Ian Goodall, Goodall Media Inc.

Regarding his hat trick on Tuesday vs. the Belleville Bulls, Lessio said he was pleased by his feat but Oshawa’s 6-1 victory meant more to him.

“It was an exhibition game, but it was a good night for me,” Lessio said. “I felt the bounces were going my way and I was pretty fortunate to put three (goals) in there and help my team win. Any time you win – exhibition game or not - it’s a great feeling.”

Earlier this summer, Lessio played for Team Canada in the Canada-Russia Challenge, a four-game international tournament between junior teams. He scored a key goal in Game 4 to help Canada win the event.

The Coyotes closely watched him play in that series and will monitor his performance all season.

"Lucas is a big, strong power forward who can really skate,” Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said. “He is another young forward in our system who brings size, strength and plays the game with some pace. This will be an important year in Lucas's development as he takes on a leadership role with his team in Oshawa and we look forward to watching him closely this winter.”

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