After a year away, center Matthew Lombardi is returning to the NHL. The New York Rangers announced Wednesday that they had signed the veteran forward to a two-year deal. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the deal is reportedly worth $1.6 million.
The 32-year-old Lombardi spent last season with Genève-Servette of the Swiss National League, leading the league in scoring with 50 points in 46 games. He added nine points in 12 playoff games. In addition, Geneve-Servette won the Spengler Cup last season. Lombardi led the tournament in scoring, with eight points in three games.
A versatile player, Lombardi can play both center and wing. He has good speed and plays a responsible two-way game. He split the 2012-2013 NHL season between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks; scoring eight points in 28 games. A veteran of nine NHL seasons, Lombardi has also played for the Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs. In 536 NHL games, he has amassed 101 goals and 262 points. He has added 16 points in 40 playoff contests.
For the Rangers, Lombardi could replace Brian Boyle (who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning) as a bottom-six center. He will also help offset the loss of Brad Richards, who was bought out earlier this summer, and has since signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Even with the signing of Lombardi, the Rangers still have work left to do to solidify their group of forwards. Leading scorer Mats Zuccarello is a restricted free agent, as are forwards Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider. All three players have elected to go to salary arbitration, and should be in line for significant raises.
The team did have one significant addition to their blueline, signing veteran defenseman Dan Boyle to a two-year contract earlier this summer. In 75 games for the San Jose Sharks last season, the 38-year-old Boyle had 12 goals and 36 points.
The Rangers made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, where they fell to the Los Angeles Kings.