NHL

Numbers Game: Lombardi Goes To Nashville

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Scott Cullen
7/13/2010 11:38:46 PM
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After dealing team captain Jason Arnott to New Jersey, the Nashville Predators filled his spot with a younger, faster model.

Numbers Game takes a look at the Matthew Lombardi signing.

The Predators Get: C Matthew Lombardi.

Lombardi, 28, is one of the league's fastest skaters and scored a career-high 53 points for the Coyotes in 2009-2010.

While that point total doesn't suggest Lombardi is an elite offensive producer, it would also have been enough to lead the Predators' scoring race last season, so if Lombardi keeps producing 50-plus points, he's holding up his end of the bargain.

Since the Predators traded away Jason Arnott, Lombardi effectively replaces him on the depth chart, but could be a better fit; a younger player with better speed, he'll be more apt to to thrive when playing the Predators' relentless style.

With Colin Wilson, David Legwand and Marcel Goc the other centres of note in Nashville, Lombardi should have every opportunity to secure a spot on the first line, including prominent power play minutes.  Wilson may end up back on the wing, as he was for much of his rookie campaign. 

In Phoenix, they made up for the anticipated loss of Lombardi by signing veteran winger Ray Whitney and making plans to shift Wojtek Wolski into the middle on their number one line.

Signed for three years and $10.5-million, Lombardi comes reasonably-priced, which is somewhat surprising since he was the top centre available by the time the free agent market started, but the Predators should be pleased with the results of effectively swapping out Arnott and bringing in Lombardi to fill the void.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.

Matthew Lombardi (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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