Nashville Predators sign free agent center Matthew Lombardi

Against all stereotypes and the expectations of many a fan, David Poile has signed a free agent forward today. Former Phoenix Coyote Matthew Lombardi inked with Nashville for 3 years, and $3.5 million. At first glance, it's a great signing - Lombardi is fast, can score, and play defense. He'll be a great plug-in until Colin Wilson is ready for top-line work. More analysis later, but for now, I'm pretty pleased. Poile has a) spent money and b) addressed a need. 

Darren Pang broke the deal on Twitter, and if you have any doubt about what a solid signing this is for Nashville, just check out the reaction in Phoenix.

Matthew Lombardi

#15 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes

5-11

195

Mar 18, 1982

Here's the basic scouting report:

Assets
  • Owns excellent penalty-killing skills. Makes his linemates better around him because of deft setup ability and great speed. Is an accomplished face-off man.
Flaws
  • Not very big, he needs to gain more strength. Will also need to continue upgrading his level of consistency in order to elevate his game even more in the NHL.
Career Potential
  • Speedy two-way center.

Lombardi was a developing young player in the Calgary organization before getting shipped to Phoenix in the Olli Jokinen deal from March, 2009. He went on to have his best career season with the Coyotes, with 19 goals and 34 assists. While not a flashy offensive performer, he's a classic two-way player that Barry Trotz should be able to plug right into this lineup.

With a center depth chart that reads Lombardi, Legwand, Wilson & Goc (in whatever order you like), the Predators will field a deep, competitive lineup once again. As USA Today's Kevin Allen just noted on Twitter:

Combine two Poile moves: he traded Jason Arnott for a prospect, 2nd rounder and Matthew Lombardi. Plus, he saved $1 million off his budget.

Finally, taking a look back at our free agency cheat sheet, it appears David Poile took my advice...or something.

This comes from the Nashville Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent forward Matthew Lombardi to a three-year, $10.5 million contract. The Montreal, Quebec native will make $3.5 million in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Lombardi, 28 (3/18/82), ranked second on the Phoenix Coyotes in both points and assists with career-highs in each category (19g-34a-53pts) in 2009-10, then paced the team in points during the 2010 playoffs (1g-5a-6pts, 7gp). The 5-11, 195-pound center has posted between 14 and 20 goals for the Coyotes and Calgary Flames in each of the past four seasons, averaging 45 points per campaign in the process. In 441 NHL contests since 2003, he has amassed 236 points (89g-147a). Lombardi has appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five of his six NHL seasons, most notably posting six points (1g-5a) in 13 games in helping Calgary to Game Seven of the 2004 Cup Finals.

Drafted 215th overall (seventh round) by Edmonton in the 2000 Entry Draft, then 90th overall (third round) by Calgary when he re-entered the draft in 2002, Lombardi has represented Canada at the World Championships on two occasions, ranking fourth the tournament in scoring (6g-6a-12pts, 9gp) en route to a gold medal at the 2007 tournament, and earning silver in 2009. The four-year Victoriaville Tigres from 1998-2002 posting 257 points (109g-148a) in 250 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games, helping the team reach the finals of the 2002 Memorial Cup.  Named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team, Lombardi put up a tournament-high nine points (2g-7a) in six games.

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