Two Cougars head off to NHL rookie tournaments

The Prince George Cougars have announced that defenceman Joel Lakusta and forward Jackson Leppard are attending NHL Rookie Tournaments this week as free-agent invites.

Joel Lakusta will play for the St. Louis Blues at the 20thannual Traverse City Rookie Tournament, in Traverse City, Michigan, from September 7-11. The eight-team tournament consists of prospects and free-agent invites from the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.  The 20-year-old attended the Calgary Flames’ Development Camp in July.

The Sherwood Park, Alberta, product is entering his fourth season with the Cougars, having played in 174 career regular season games in the WHL, compiling 12 goals and 61 points. Last season, Lakusta set career highs in goals (nine), assists (33) and points (42) in 70 games.

Jackson Leppard will play for the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2018 Prospects Showcase, in Estero, Florida, from September 8-11. The Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals are also icing teams in the tournament. Leppard attended the Lightning’s Development Camp in June. The North Vancouver, BC, native is entering his third season with the Cougars. Last year, Leppard recorded 15 goals and 36 points in 68 regular season games. In two seasons with the Cougars, he has amassed 17 goals and 40 points in 105 regular season games.

The Cougars also reduced their pre-season roster by nine after a pair of pre-season games on the weekend. The roster now sits at 27 players: three goalies, eight defensemen and 16 forwards. The roster includes the Cougars two first-round selections in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, in Craig Armstrong and Tyler Brennan.

Prince George continues their pre-season schedule this weekend, with a pair of games in Langley against the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals, on September 8, and 9. The Cougars play the Giants on September 8 at 7 p.m. and the Royals at noon on September 9.

-Prince George Cougars

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