Kevin Allen of USA Today reported that Lombardi, who Toronto basically took as a salary dump, will in fact be ready for training camp next month. Per Brian Burke, "He says he is going be at training camp, and our guys believe he will.... He feels really good.... The most recent medical report we had on him is that the remaining discomfort he's having isn't concussion-related."
If Lombardi will be at training camp and ready to start the season with the Maple Leafs, they will be getting a huge boost to their lineup. Not only is Lombardi one of the fastest skaters in the league, but he is also good on faceoffs, has excellent penalty-killing skills and has good set-up ability, according to The Hockey News.
Now, where will Lombardi play?
He is a natural center-man, but he also has the ability to play left wing. Well, one of the Leaf's openings in training camp is the third-line left-wing position. If he were to play on the left side alongside Tyler Bozak and Colby Armstrong, he would help both of them in the offensive department.
That line would then provide even more secondary scoring than we already have. He could also push Bozak down to the fourth-line and be the center of the third-line between Armstrong and Nazem Kadi.
If Tim Connolly falters on the first-line, Lombardi could also get an audition on the first-line alongside Phil Kessel. No matter what, Lombardi making an early return to the lineup will be the death knell to the chances of either Kadri, Darryl Boyce or Phillippe Dupuis making the lineup.
Lombardi now appears to be able to play the entire season with the Maple Leafs, and having another player that has the ability to get 50-plus points is a welcome addition to the lineup.
I think that Lombardi could be a very good player for the Leafs; I have thought so since my very first article on Bleacher Report. I am very happy to see Lombardi wearing the Maple Leaf as soon as possible.
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