Author: Joe Yerdon

Matthew Lombardi

Lombardi signs one-year deal in Swiss league

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Matthew Lombardi won’t be taking to NHL ice next season.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports the veteran of nine NHL seasons has signed a one-year deal with Geneva-Servette of the Swiss National League.

Last season, Lombardi split time with the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks scoring four goals and four assists, all of which came with the Coyotes. Sorry about that lack of production, Anaheim.

Over his career in the NHL, he’s had 101 goals in 536 games played and has been a solid penalty killer in recent seasons with Toronto as well. In Geneva, he’ll team up with a small handful of players who once suited up here including former Oilers forward Lennart Petrell.

It’s Pittsburgh Penguins day on PHT

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Last season didn’t turn out quite how GM Ray Shero intended. Sure, the Penguins made it to the Eastern Conference finals, but his veteran acquisitions that pushed the team “all in” (Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Jarome Iginla) all lost a step against a hungrier Boston Bruins team.

For many teams, making it to the conference finals is a major accomplishment. For the Penguins, it was a let down. Sidney Crosby saw his health factor into the end of their season, although thankfully not a concussion. Smashed out teeth thanks to a deflected puck made for a gorier scene.

Goaltending went from being a strength to one of controversy thanks to Marc-Andre Fleury falling apart in the playoffs only to be supplanted by Tomas Vokoun. How Fleury bounces back this season will be a huge factor in whether the Pens are Stanley Cup contenders or pretenders.

Offseason recap

Shero tried giving the team the veteran presence he thought was needed for coach Dan Bylsma during the season, but each of Morrow (unsigned), Murray (Montreal), and Iginla (Boston) won’t be back this season.

Also not returning to Pittsburgh is Matt Cooke (Minnesota) and that may work out to be better from a PR standpoint, but the Pens penalty kill will suffer for it. They also traded Tyler Kennedy to San Jose during the NHL Draft.

The team paid up big to extend Kris Letang and to retain Pascal Dupuis. Craig Adams also re-upped on a new deal. Rob Scuderi returned after four seasons and a second Stanley Cup in Los Angeles. Shero admitted letting him get away then was a mistake.

Their other free agent pick-ups weren’t exactly ones that will blow you away. Forwards Matt D’Agostini and Andrew Ebbett along with defenseman Brendan Mikkelson will help fill out ranks.

The goal is the Stanley Cup once again and with (stop me if you’ve heard this before) a fully healthy Crosby and Evgeni Malkin they’ll be threats to do so.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

PHT Morning Skate: Let training camp talk begin

Aleksander Barkov, Nathan MacKinnon

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Avalanche released their training camp roster and it’s busy with 58 players listed on it including No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon. (Avalanche)

In Ottawa, 2012 first-round draft pick Cody Ceci looks to make an impression during camp. (Senators Extra)

Michigan development officials aren’t expecting any delays in funding for the new arena in Detroit. That’s… Something. (Detroit Free Press)

Did Winnipeg get a steal in 2013 seventh-round pick Brenden Kichton? He signed with the team yesterday. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Evgeni Nabokov is looking to go to his third straight Olympics. (

All three Staal brothers are hoping to make it on Team Canada’s roster (AP)

Wing or center? It doesn’t matter to Jeff Skinner. (News & Observer)

Vanek: ‘I didn’t ask to be traded’

Thomas Vanek

Sabres fans might be able to breathe a little easier today. Thomas Vanek isn’t looking to be traded.

Vanek spoke with reporters in Buffalo and said he has no idea where the talk of him wanting to be moved came from and that he’s happy to wait and see what the season brings. WGR’s Paul Hamilton shares the story.

“I never asked to be traded so when people do mention it, I’m surprised. Did I think I was going to get traded, no because I never once went in there and said I don’t want to be here. I said, ‘Right now I’m not looking for an extension, but not saying that I wouldn’t want one down the road, but right now I just want to see where it goes’.”

All right, so maybe breathing easier won’t totally happen, but at the very least Vanek isn’t looking to get out of town right away. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and he said he wants to keep his options open. One thing he’s said is he doesn’t want to stick around for a long rebuild.

GM Darcy Regier’s options are to either extend him or deal him before the deadline before possibly losing him for nothing. That’s the same situation goalie Ryan Miller is in as well. If either player is to be moved, plenty of teams will want in on them for the right price.

Related: Vanek preparing for season in Buffalo, but admits situation not ‘best-case scenario’

Begin signs deal with AHL Abbotsford

Steve Begin

Steve Begin made a return to the NHL last season with the Calgary Flames and now he’ll be looking to stick around with them in the minor leagues.

The AHL’s Abbotsford Heat announced the signings of Begin and forward Carter Bancks to separate one-year deals.

Begin’s return to the NHL after a season out of hockey saw him suit up in 36 games for Calgary scoring four goals and adding four assists. He also had 22 penalty minutes.

A veteran of over 500 games in the league over his 13 seasons, Begin’s been a consistent third or fourth line player. He’ll now look to bestow his knowledge on the prospects in Calgary’s system.

Bancks, meanwhile, played two games with the Flames last season and the past four seasons with Abbotsford.