Matthew Lombardi’s tenure lasted just one season with the Maple Leafs, as the team traded the forward to Phoenix in exchange for a fourth- or third-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Lombardi contributed minimally for the Leafs offensively, grabbing just eight goals and 10 assists in 62 games for Toronto. He bounced around different line combinations but never found the ideal spot that seemed to fit. Lombardi was on for different matchups on the ice and, at one point, filled in as the starting centre for one game against Montreal when Tyler Bozak was injured.
When Randy Carlyle took over as head coach in Toronto, the commitment to tighter defence had an effect on Lombardi’s production, as he was limited to just four points over the course of 17 games. While he struggled before that too, his game gravitated towards Ron Wilson’s run-and-gun style given Lombardi’s exceptional speed.
With some of the younger talent emerging at Leafs camp, this move will open up a spot for some of the younger forwards inching closer to development, like a Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin
In 2010-11, Lombardi missed all but two games with the Nashville Predators due to a concussion. He was traded to Toronto as part of a deal that saw Cody Franson become a Leaf, in exchange for defenceman Brett Lebda and forward Robert Slaney.
Lombardi returns to an organization that gave him his most productive season, a 53 point campaign in 2009-10 over 78 games.
The Maple Leafs will absorb part of Lombardi’s $3.5-million cap hit under the provision to retain salary, a new caveat in the latest NHL collecting bargaining agreement.