One of them was drafted in the 7th round (215th overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in 2000, but went unsigned, re-entered the draft in 2002 and was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd round (90th overall). In his first year as an NHLer his team went to the Stanley Cup final and lost by 1 goal in the 7th game.
Matthew Lombardi was having himself a nice little rookie year for Calgary when a playoff concusion derailed it, and then his sophmore season was put off due to various injuries. This year though, paired with Huselius, Lombardi has really been able to showcase what he's capable of offensively. His footspeed is simply sublime and I would feel very confident estimating he's among the fastest in the NHL, if he is not actually the fastest, and it is that speed, combined with some decent offensive instincts, which make Lombardi such a dangerous opponent. His smart defensive play has lead him to increased penalty kill time and he's 2nd in the league in terms of short handed markers. He is 3rd on the Flames in terms of +/-, 2nd in terms of Game Winning Goals, and most importantly, he's provided the Flames with a legitimate 2nd line centre behind Daymond Langkow. Like Stoll, Lombardi is also a guy who does more than put up numbers, as the numerous offensive chances he creates forces the opposition to turn over the puck, take penalties and take some of the defensive coverage away from Iginla.
One of the things I find most interesting about these two guys is that on paper they would seem to fit in so much better with their original draft team. Lombardi's speed is classic 'Oiler's Hockey' (as Kevin Lowe calls it), and Stoll's defensive mindset and grittyness is much more typical of the game the Calgary Flames play game in game out. But perhaps thats what makes these two guys so effective on their respectve teams, they provide the odd man out service. Lombardi adds a element of speed and finesse to a grind it out club, and Stoll provides the sandpaper to Edmonton's finesse.
In any event, these are, in my opinon, two of the most important guys to keep an eye out for in tonight's Hockey Day in Canada 'Battle of Alberta' classic. Lombardi has been flying since game 1 and Stoll has been one of Edmonton's few positives over the last month.
In case you don't know what Hockey Day is, I highly recommend taking in the events CBC will be brodcasting throughout the day. Some of it is pure cheese, but its really a unique television event. Too often it's easy to get caught up in the fortunes of the local NHL team and forget that hockey is being played on so many different levels, by so many different people, being supported by thousands of terrific volunteers who coach teams, maintain rinks (outdoor especially), ferry kids back and forth from 6am practice, who give players room and board if they are from a foreign city, etc. etc. etc. Their stories are the stories of hockey, and to me, nothing is more Canadian than having a day to celebrate our national sport.
Hockey Day starts at 12ET today on CBC, live from Nelson BC, at 2ET, Montreal plays Ottawa, at 7ET Toronto plays Vancouver, then at 10ET Calgary plays Edmonton.