Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney goes with what he knows. He needed a sniper on the wing; he reacquired Radim Vrbata from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. He needed a defensive defenseman; he reacquired Zbynek Michalek from the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer.
On Wednesday night, Maloney added some more pop to the Coyotes’ forward group with another old face: Center Matthew Lombardi, who played 97 games with Phoenix from 2008-10.
The Coyotes acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the pick becomes a third-rounder if Lombardi, an unrestricted free agent this summer, re-ups with the Coyotes.
“We are very pleased to bring a player like Matthew back to our team,” said Maloney. “Matthew is a very strong skater will add quickness and skill to our lineup. He is an intelligent center who will be a great addition to our team and provides us with added depth at the center position.”
Lombardi turned a career year in 2010 into a 3-year, $10.5-million free agent deal with the Nashville Predators – significantly more than Maloney was willing to ante for his services.
A concussion limited his time with the Preds to just two games, and he was later traded to the Leafs with Cody Franson. He had 18 points in 62 games last season.
The Coyotes now have Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Lombardi, and Boyd Gordon down the middle. It may not be the flashiest group in the league, but it is a solid core with strong defensive skills that all play well within Dave Tippett's system.
Sometimes you don’t need flashy. That’s just a solid group right there.