Last week at Florida Panthers Development Camp a number of up-and-coming players caught the eyes of the coaching staff as well as the fans, 5-foot-8 forward Anthony Luciani was one of those. He had a solid camp all week, and scored the first goal of the scrimmage for Bryan McCabe’s “White Team” on Friday.
The Maple, Ontario native played 3 seasons in the Ontario Provincial Junior “A” Hockey League before spending three seasons with the Erie Otters of the OHL. In 2008 Luciani began his OHL career tallying 14 points and 84 penalty minutes throughout his 59 appearances with the Otters. The following season he exploded offensively and earned the title of leading goal scorer for the Otters by finding the back of the net 38 times. He also picked up 30 assists that year to give himself 68 points when the Otters’ season ended. During the 2010-11 season Luciani proved once again he was one of the top forwards for Erie netting 29 goals and assisting on 49 of his teammate’s goals. After scoring 7 goals in 7 playoff games for the Otters, Anthony signed an entry level contract with the Florida Panthers in April and joined the Rochester Americans of the AHL for the end of their season. He appeared in 3 games during the last weekend of the Amerks’ season and made quite the impression. During his second AHL game he scored twice and assisted on fellow Panther prospect Colby Robak’s goal against the Toronto Marlies in a tough 6-5 loss.
After attending both Panthers Developmental Camp and Training Camp in 2011, Luciani played with the Panthers ECHL affiliate for the majority of the 2011-12 season. Over a span of 54 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Luciani averaged almost a point per game. He finished the season with 23 goals and 26 assists, racking up 53 penalty minutes along the way. Luciani recorded his first career hat-trick in late December when the Cyclones blew past the Kalamazoo Wings in a 8-5 victory, earning him first star honours for the night. Just a few weeks before that game, Anthony made his debut in the San Antonio Rampage uniform when the Peoria Rivermen visited the AT&T Center on December 10th. Although he didn’t get his name on the score sheet that night, he played well enough to earn himself a second recall towards the end of the Rampage’s annual Rodeo Road Trip and played against the Rivermen once again recording two shots on goal this time in Peoria.
Luciani definitely knows how to make his presence know. He’s got exceptional puck handling skills and plays with a tremendous amount of heart. It’s obvious that he’s a hard worker and is doing whatever he can seal a spot in the next level. At 22 years old, he has already made a name for himself with coaches, scouts and fans. During his stint with Rochester last season a group of fans traveled up from Erie sporting pins and buttons with his picture and name just to see him play in his first AHL games. Who knows, maybe they’ll show up in South Florida someday to watch Luciani play in his first NHL game.
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