As we near the start of the NHL season, we have yet another trade, as the Phoenix Coyotes landed forward Matthew Lombardi from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The price to pay was small, with a draft pick that ended up being a fourth rounder.
Lombardi was a Coyote for two years, and actually had the best season of his career while playing in the desert, when he had 53 points in 78 regular season tilts for the Yotes back in 2009-2010. The couple of seasons since haven’t been as kind to Lombardi.
He’s struggled with injuries, including major neck issues. He played in just two games after signing a three year deal that paid him over $3 million per with the Nashville Predators. The Preds then shipped him to the Leafs, where he appeared in 62 games last year, somewhat surprisingly. Many thought he’d miss more time with injury.
For the Coyotes, this is a move that has the potential to pay off and become a very good one. Lombardi was very well liked in his first stint in Phoenix, so the fans will surely be excited to see him back in the lineup. But from an actual talent standpoint, he’s exactly what the Coyotes were looking for.
Lombardi is a top six center, which the Yotes have been in the market for for quite some time. He’ll likely start in the top nine at the very least, but fits very well into Dave Tippett‘s system. He’s the kind of guy that could put 20 goals in for a team that could use some extra offense.
The price to pay was small. That fourth rounder can become a third if Lombardi signs with the Coyotes after this season. If he’s healthy and performs well, that could certainly happen.
We’ll have to see where Lombardi’s game is after a couple of years marked by injury and performance struggles. If he bounces back and heads back in a direction that is more towards his ’09-’10 production, then this is going to be a very good move for the Coyotes.