The Coyotes intra-squad scrimmage on Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena was another step in preparation for Saturday's opening game in Dallas.
But while players were battling against each other in an abbreviated game, General Manager Don Maloney was making a move off the ice to improve his team.
The Coyotes acquired center Matthew Lombardi from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2014. If the Coyotes re-sign Lombardi, the Maple Leafs get a third-round pick. If they don't, the Maple Leafs get a fourth-round pick.
"I'm super excited," Lombardi said from Toronto. "I never wanted to leave in the first place, so it's a great opportunity."
Lombardi is in the final year of a contract and carries a $3.5 million cap hit. The Maple Leafs retain $1.5 million with the Coyotes absorbing the remaining $2 million. With a shortened season because of the lockout, they'll only pay roughly 58 percent of their portion of his left-over salary, which Maloney pegged to be at approximately $1.9 million.
This was the deal Maloney had hoped to accomplish before the start of training camp but unexpectedly fell through.
"I'm content," Maloney said. "I just feel better about our team."
Adding experienced depth at the center position had been a priority of Maloney's since the lockout ended. Martin Hanzal and Antoine Vermette have solidified spots, but Boyd Gordon has been kept out of team practices with an upper-body injury and Kyle Chipchura (who would typically be on the fourth line) could easily move to a wing.
Matthew Lombardi to return as Phoenix Coyotes get back to work
Arizona Republic | Jan 17