It’s been an… Interesting offseason for the New York Rangers and it may have gotten a bit more curious.
John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor reports the Rangers have signed forward Matthew Lombardi to a two-year deal. Patrick Kearns of VICE Sports reports the deal is worth $1.6 million total.
This signing comes a bit out of left field as Lombardi spent last season playing in the Swiss National League for Geneva-Servette. He played in 46 games and had 20 goals and 50 points to lead the Swiss League in scoring.
Last we saw of Lombardi in the NHL was during the 2012-13 season with the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks where he played in 28 games and had eight points, all with the Coyotes. He has also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators, and Calgary Flames.
Lombardi, 32, is known for his speed and penalty killing ability, a pair of traits that could come in handy for the Rangers after losing Benoit Pouliot and Brian Boyle in free agency. If he can provide similar offense to what he showed in Switzerland, that’d be a welcome bonus.
Free agency can be tough for players that aren’t superstar goal scorers or shut-down defenders. Such is the case for Paul Bissonnette.
While you likely know Bissonnette better as “BizNasty” from his work on Twitter, his job as a fourth liner with the Arizona Coyotes appears to be up now that they’ve acquired B.J. Crombeen from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona shared, Bissonnette is upset to leave the team that’s helped him become a NHL celebrity despite the lack of flashy statistics.
“It sucks,” the Coyotes’ fan favorite said Tuesday. “It’s really sad because I had a blast there for five years. I met a lot of awesome people — got really close with the fans and the community and I’ll really miss them.”
During his five seasons in the desert, Bissonnette racked up seven goals, 21 points and 318 penalty minutes in 187 games.
As for where BizNasty may wind up next, he said he’s not sure yet but he’s talking with a couple different teams. He also said he hasn’t ruled out playing in Europe. If you’ll recall, he suited up for Cardiff Devils in Wales during the most recent lockout.
Not all signings can earn the attention of a full post. Here’s a few of those from today…
Oilers re-sign three players
The Edmonton Oilers helped keep some of their depth going by keeping three players in the fold with one-year deals. Forwards Andrew Miller, Curtis Hamilton, and Tyler Pitlick all were inked to new deals. All three players spent the season with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL last season. Pitlick and Hamilton were each second-round picks by the team in 2010. Miller was signed out of Yale following his senior season in 2013.
Kings re-sign Berube
Should the Los Angeles Kings run into any trouble with Jonathan Quick or Martin Jones next season, they’ll have J.F. Berube to fall back on. The 23-year-old goaltender re-upped with the Kings on a two-year contract. He’ll likely start the season in Manchester, but should Quick have trouble bouncing back from offseason wrist surgery, he could start as Jones’ backup if the Kings don’t sign a veteran to help. The Kings have just Dwight King left to re-sign amongst their restricted free agents.
Coyotes re-sign McMillan and Szwarz
Arizona helped keep their depth intact by re-signing forwards Brandon McMillan and Jordan Szwarz. McMillan has seen NHL time with the Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks in the past and had six points with the ‘Yotes last season. Szwarz had three goals and 19 penalty minutes in 26 games last season with the team and splitting time between the AHL and NHL.
A busy day for the Nashville Predators was capped off nicely by taking care of their 2014 first-round pick.
The Predators announced they’ve signed Swiss forward Kevin Fiala to his three-year entry-level contract. Unlike the Predators other two signings today, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy, it’s not expected Fiala will crack the Predators roster next season.
Fiala was taken 11th overall by the Predators in this year’s draft and played with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League last season. If he doesn’t make the Predators, he could wind up back in Sweden or play in Milwaukee with the Preds’ AHL team.
As for the player, he’s obviously very excited to get the deal done.
The Washington Capitals have their 2014 first-round pick officially locked up.
The team announced they’ve signed 13th overall selection Jakub Vrana to his three-year entry-level contract. Vrana played at Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League last season and that’s where he’ll likely be playing again next season unless his performance in training camp dictates otherwise.
Vrana, a Czech Republic native, has been a star for their national team at the World Junior Championships and Under-18 World Championships. As Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com shared, the Caps think highly of his abilities.
“He obviously has shown really good speed,” Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said last week. “In a shootout he showed his hands and his slap shot is one that not a lot of people are going to be able to stop.”
If Vrana impresses enough in camp, that’d put the Caps in curious position to possibly go with a lot of youth as they’ll have 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky also pushing to make the club.