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.
It looks like former NHL coach Marc Crawford won’t be coming back to North America.
The former Avalanche, Kings, Canucks, and Stars coach has verbally agreed to return to the ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League according to the team’s Twitter feed.
Crawford had been in the running for the head coaching jobs with both the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. But with the Panthers looking at Gerard Gallant and the Penguins moving on from Willie Desjardins and Bill Peters to other candidates, he’s not waiting around to see what they decide.
Crawford coached ZSC to the championship as well as the best record in the Swiss League. ZSC finished 20 points ahead of second place HC Gotteron and beat Kloten for the title. That’s probably more than you’ve ever read about the Swiss League.
Crawford won the Stanley Cup as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 and won the Jack Adams Award in 1995.
Sometimes a year away from the NHL is all it takes to get back.
That’s what forwards Leo Komarov and Peter Mueller are hoping. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports both players are looking to come back to the world’s best hockey league after each spent this season in Europe.
Komarov (pictured) spent this past season with Moscow Dynamo in the KHL. He also played in the Olympics and World Championships for Finland. He had been with the Toronto Maple Leafs previously and had a solid season there, but couldn’t work out a new deal to stick around.
With Moscow, Komarov had 12 goals and 34 points in 52 games. At 27 years old he’ll make an effective third or fourth line player that can agitate anyone and have some skill to boot.
Mueller’s year in Europe was spent in the Swiss National League and playing for Team USA at World Championships. He scored 24 goals for Kloten tying him for the league lead and had 46 points in 49 games. That point total was good for third in the league.
His departure from the NHL was a bit of a surprise, but after a tough season with the Florida Panthers he had to show he still could rack up points. Mission accomplished. Now he’ll hope a team has a need for a depth skill player.
Linus Omark’s days in Buffalo and the NHL could be numbered.
The Sabres put the Swedish forward on waivers following a less-than impressive run with the team. In 13 games, Omark had no goals and two assists. He was a healthy scratch last night against Ottawa and has been scratched other times since joining the Sabres.
Buffalo acquired Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in a trade back in December hoping that a change of scenery and an opportunity to play in the NHL would help him break out.
That hasn’t happened, however, and after not being able to break out on the league’s worst team, it may be difficult for him to earn an opportunity with another NHL team. The Oilers signed Omark before the season after he had a big season playing for Zug in the Swiss National League. Perhaps Switzerland is where his game works best.
Kyle Wellwood is reportedly calling it a career.
Nicola Berger of Swiss newspaper NLZ reports the speedy 30-year-old forward is retiring from hockey. Wellwood had been playing for EV Zug in the Swiss National League, but tells Berger he’s done saying his heart wasn’t in it anymore.
Wellwood played nine NHL seasons with four teams: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets. After not securing a NHL deal this past offseason, he headed for Switzerland where he had a goal and two assists through nine games for Zug.
While he arrived on the scene in Toronto, his career had a revival of sorts in Winnipeg in 2011-12 as he scored 18 goals and finished with a career-high 47 points. One lockout-shortened season later, he’s through with the game at 30.
UPDATE 11:50 a.m. ET
Slight clarification from Wellwood’s agent, as per Yahoo!’s Sean Leahy — Wellwood’s one-month deal with Zug has expired and he’s left Switzerland to explore potential NHL opportunities. If he cannot find any, he plans to retire.