According to NBCSports.com, the New York Rangers signed a two-year contract with centerman Matthew Lombardi, worth a total of $1.6 million. Last season, he played for the Geneve-Servette Hockey Club of the National League A in Switzerland. During his time overseas, he played in 46 games, accumulating 50 points with 20 goals, which led the league in scoring.
Former Rangers goalie Kevin Weekes went on Twitter announced the signing also:
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 16, 2014
Matthew Lombardi has played professional hockey since 2003. He was originally drafted 215th by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. After a failed attempt at signing with the team, Lomdardi reentered the entry Draft and was selected 90th overall by the Calgary Flames.
He played five seasons in Calgary, amassing 167 points in 347 games. He set a career high in goals with 20 during the 2006-2007 season. He participated in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Detroit Red wings. Unfortunately, he suffered an upper body injury that resulted from an elbow by defenseman Derian Hatcher. Unfortunately, he missed several months of hockey, including the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In 2009, he was traded to the then-Phoenix Coyotes. He, along with Brandon Prust and a first round draft pick were exchanged for the services of Olli Jokinen. During his time as a Coyote, he set career records in assists (34) and points (53). His highest offensive production was during the 2009-2010 season.
After the 2009 season, Matthew Lombardi signed a three year with the Nashville Predators. Unfortunately, his time was short lived. In his first year, Lombardi suffered a concussion in pre-season, which allowed him to play only two games.
He and Cody Franson were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, prior to the start of 2011-2012 season. There, he played 62 games, producing 18 points with eight goals.
Unfortuantely, Matthew Lombardi would be traded two more times. The first time was back to the Coyotes. The next time would be to the Anaheim Ducks. In between the two teams, he played just 28 games with four goals and eight points in total.
Due to being injury-prone in his NHL career, it is puzzling why general manager Glen Sather would sign the well-traveled forward. Would he have an impact in the AHL with Hartford? Or does Sather see him as a contributor on the Rangers roster, allowing the prospects to get one more year of experience under their belts with the Wolf Pack?
I could see his thinking. Matthew Lombardi does have prior NHL experience; he is noted for his speed on the ice, often leading his teams on rushes. He has seen time on special teams, spending time on both power play and penalty kill units. It is possible he could be a third/fourth line centerman.
The good thing is, Lombardi is coming on the cheap end. At $800,000 per year, he could be a bargain if he is able to recapture his scoring touch from a few years ago. He could regain that under head coach Alain Vigneault. He resurrected Benoit Pouliot’s career and look what that got him.
However, he will need to compete with the up and coming prospects, which will be hungry for a roster spot. If he remains relatively injury free, he could become a steal and affordable replacement for former Rangers Brian Boyle.