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2010 NHL Free Agency: Predators sign speedy Matt Lombardi to three-year, $10.5M deal

Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Two

of the Detroit Red Wings of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 16, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.

Christian Petersen

You know it’s a shallow pool of forwards when Matthew Lombardi is one of the most promising candidates, but that is the case this summer. The Nashville Predators signed Lombardi to deal for three years, $10.5 million according to Pierre LeBrun.

Lombardi’s speed and two-way play have always been there, but last year seemed like a potential breakthrough season. He managed to put up a career-high 53 points in 09-10, playing particularly well once he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes. Lombardi put up a near-point-per-game pace in the desert, scoring five goals and 11 assists for 16 points in 19 games.

Though he reached a career high last year, he’s been a pretty stable guy in the 40+ point range for some time now, but it’s his speed and smarts that make him a valuable player.

He received the same contract as Matt Cullen did in Minnesota. If I had to choose between paying Lombardi $3.5 million per year or doing the same with Cullen, I’d take my chances with Lombardi. He should be a great fit for the offense-starved but always defense-first Nashville Predators. They need to make every free agent signing count and if I had to guess, they nailed it right here.