The Detroit Red Wings’ fascination with Flint Firebirds center Amadeus Lombardi goes well beyond his rockin’ first name.
“Amadeus Lombardi had an awesome year in Flint,” Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said Friday. “He’s really a good little player. He’s very creative.”
The Aurora, Ontario native made his pro debut Friday night with the Grand Rapids Griffins and picked up his his first point with a slick pass on a Taro Hirose goal. The Griffins lost 2-1 to the Rockford IceHogs.
“All things considered, I thought he played very well tonight,” Griffins coach Ben Simon said.
AMADEUS LOMBARDI! 🍏
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 14, 2023
“I am just trying to play my game and see what happens,” Lombardi said.
Adjusting to Pro Game
He said he noticed immediately that speed and strength of the AHL will require him to step up his game. He didn’t sound concerned about it.
“It’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment, but I am very excited for it,” Lombardi said. “I am trying to get my feet wet, play as well as I can, and just gather experience, but I think I can bring some positive energy, and on the ice, some speed, playmaking ability, just trying to play my game and see what happens.”
Amadeus Lombardi (drafted 113th overall in 2022) is fast, spunky and skilled. Ontario Hockey League coaches voted him the smartest player in his division. Coaches also voted him second in stickhandling and playmaking. He was third in the OHL scoring race with 102 points.
Doesn’t Play Small
“He’s 5-9. 5-10, 170 pounds,” Yzerman said. “That doesn’t matter. He’s real competitive. Is he in there running guys over, knocking guys out? No. But he drives to the net, he somehow gets to the corners first, he makes plays, he’s very creative. He’s a very entertaining player.”
Lombardi seems driven to succeed. His Firebirds lost their first round playoff series to the Saginaw Spirit, but not because of Lombardi. He posted five goals in seven games.
“Can he take that to the American League or the NHL one day? I hope so,” Yzerman said. “He certainly has the ability to do that. He’s going to have to adjust to playing against bigger, stronger, faster guys but had a really good year and is a fun player to watch. We really hold out optimism for him to be one of those guys that’s on the smaller side who just has it to be an NHL player. Time will tell but I’m kind of excited by the potential that he has.”
Analysis: The Red Wings are intrigued about Lombardi’s potential as an offensive catalyst. This will be an important summer for him to add some muscle in the weight room.
Forecast: Likely to spend next season with the Griffins, and maybe get a call-up for games at the end of the season.