Fantasy Impact – Nashville has dipped into the free agent pool, locking up speedy pivot Matthew Lombardi to a three-year contract worth a total of $10.5 million.
The Predators get: A speedy, underrated center capable of playing in all situations. Lombardi had a career year offensively in 2009-10 with the Coyotes, finishing the season with 19 goals and 53 points. He immediately becomes Nashville's best center at the moment, although Colin Wilson will probably steal that title from him soon into the 2010-11 season.
Fantasy Players impacted:
This is probably the best possible case scenario for Lombardi. He goes to a team extremely thin up the middle, and he is the kind of player Barry Trotz loves (hard working and reliable defensively). I wouldn't at all be surprised to see him finish with somewhere between 55 and 60 points in 2010-11.
Lombardi seems like a Predaor to me – underrated, sound defensively, quick, decent offensively. They seem to love that type of player.
This move bumps Wilson back to the second line in all likelihood. He played some wing last year with Jason Arnott, and Nashville may want to keep him there to get him used to the speed of the NHL game, but his long term position is definitely down the middle. The Predators may have two of the quickest forwards in the league in Lombardi and fellow pivot David Legwand, who probably slots in on the third line.
This signing is devastating news for Cal O'Reilly owners. I wasn't expecting the Predators to go into 2010-11 with Legwand/Wilson/O'Reilly as their top three centers, and this move only confirms that Nashville's management shares in that line of thinking. He is on the outside looking in with regards to Nashville's top nine up front right now. Nashville's depth scoring wingers will benefit from playing with a center like Lombardi.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
2. Joel Ward
3. Martin Erat
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: