The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Matthew Lombardi to the Phoenix Coyotes for a conditional fourth round pick in 2014 which can improve to a third rounder if he re-signs after his current three year $10.5M deal expires at the end of this year. There is some question about how much salary the Leafs will retain as one of Brian Burke's pet causes helps out his replacement Dave Nonis. James Mirtle reported it as $500K and John "The Luongo Deal Is Signed And Sealed" Shannon said it's $1.5M
Lombardi to Phoenix...Hearing the Leafs retain about $1.5 Million in cap space...Coyotes to carry a 2 Million cap hit.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 17, 2013
Phoenix is glad to make this pickup and presumably to not have to dish out the full salary that remains.
Phoenix GM Don Maloney on Lombardi: He is an intelligent center who will be a great addition to our team and provides us with added depth— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) January 17, 2013
And the good news for Matthew Lombardi is that he is really glad to go back to Phoenix where he first broke out in 2009-2010:
Couple quick comments from Lombardi: "I’m super excited. I never wanted to leave in the first place."— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) January 17, 2013
Obviously that came as a bit of a surprise to Predators fans who probably remembered how happy he was to sign a lucrative deal in Nashville after the Coyotes had shown no interest in re-signing him. Unfortunately, he suffered a bad concussion two games into that contract and missed the entire first year. He was then a throw in on the Great Lebda Robbery as he and Cody Franson were traded to the Leafs for Brett Lebda and Robert Slaney. He was expected to be out all year on LTIR but ended up playing albeit not successfully:
|2011 - Matthew Lombardi||62||8||10||18||-19||10||0||1||2||0||101||7.9%|
The last time a Leaf forward was pawned off on the Coyotes - Lee Stempniak - he ended up going on a ludicrous scoring streak that spawned a couple of great posts and then we found out he had a brother!
Lee Stempniak And The Tale Of His Shooting Percentage
You'd think shooting percentage variance would be an easy concept to grasp but Scott Burnside sure doesn't get it.
Lee Stempniak Proves Dave Tippett's A Bad Coach
Gee, who could have predicted that Burnside's prediction of 25-30 goals would be wrong? :smug:
The Other Stempniak
Can you imagine what a douche his brother Jay would be? Not without reading this post along with the greatest slam in internet history.
But what does the trade mean for the Maple Leafs? In the Leafs' last two trades, they moved out Matthew Lombardi and Luke Schenn who, coincidentally, were the two worst players ranked by Corsi REL among those Leafs that played at least 40 games. Slotting in either Kadri or Frattin for Lombardi is an improvement as would be giving Franson more ice-time on the third pairing over Schenn.
As for the rest of the forwards, they are down to 15 forwards in camp after today's demotions to the Toronto Marlies. Here are Mirtle's projected lines:
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
James Van Riemsdyk - Tim Connolly - Matt Frattin
Leo Komarov - Jay McClement - Mike Brown
In a perfect world, Orr would never suit up again and the Leafs would ice twelve forwards each night that can actually play hockey. Like I said, I think that the spot opened up by the trade belongs to either Matt Frattin or Nazem Kadri for now. Again, in a perfect world the Leafs would move Connolly in order to be able to insert both of them into the lineup. Going back to this morning's link to 67Sound's post, there seems to be a pattern emerging and I think a Connolly trade fits into this pattern.
As Mirtle wrote about last night, McClement will be playing the 'stopper' role (hopefully) and anchoring what was the Pahlsson shutdown line. If Connolly is moved and you slot in Kadri between JvR and Frattin then you have the Leafs' version of the kid line that needed to be sheltered but that ate up easy minutes. The Means of Production Line could be the Leafs' scoring line that faces the other team's top defensive matchups when possible (ie at home) and the Lupul-Bozak-Kessel line would presumably feast on secondary defenders.
Mirtle's post quoted Andy Murray about how Randy Carlyle loves to match lines which 67Sound found and if that continues this year then I think that gives the Leafs some good balance. They can go power on power with Grabbo's line or they can go with a dedicated defensive line led by McClement. On the penalty kill I could see McClement and Brown/Steckel and Grabovski and Kulemin being the pairings.
Regardless of how they go forward, it is good to see Dave Nonis actively opening up spots for the kids even if it means keeping some salary. The knock on effect is that the call ups in case of injuries will be Marlies as opposed to a player like Lombardi. That may hurt this season if the Leafs struggle but ultimately that'll provide more development time and if they fail then they will have evaluated their prospects and will get a high draft pick.