Ryan Lomberg fights his way to a better contract
Date: Mar 24, 2017
STOCKTON — Ryan Lomberg has spent the last two seasons competing and fighting and trying to prove he deserved an NHL-level contract.
He's finally accomplished his goal, and the next step is to prove he should play at that elite level.
Lomberg, a gritty forward for Stockton, has been signed to a two-way, NHL/AHL contract with the Calgary Flames which begins this season. He is very happy about the upgrade in his deal, but his immediate concern is the Heat's upcoming five-game road trip to Texas, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday against the Texas Stars at the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas.
Lomberg, 22, has been on an AHL contract, and last season spent most of the year in the ECHL. But he kept doing the tough jobs on the ice, fighting when it was called for, and improved his offensive game. This season he a plus-11 plus/minus rating in 57 games, has scored eight goals and garnered 115 penalty minutes. He is tied for the AHL lead with nine major penalties, all for fighting.
Heat coach Ryan Huska said the main reason Lomberg has been rewarded is due to his work ethic.
"He's a great story," Huska said. "Last year he spent a great deal of time in the ECHL, but he didn't let it get him down. He earned this NHL contract by the way he has played consistently. We're real proud of him, and we're real excited for him."
Lomberg is glad to know his future is with Calgary.
"I was excited to finally have it done," Lomberg said. "And now I'm excited to keep working and moving forward."
The Heat (27-25-5, .519 winning percentage) hits a crucial part of its schedule, and needs a good road trip to stay in the hunt for a playoff position. It stays in Texas until April 1, with three games against the Stars and two against the San Antonio Rampage.
Stockton is 9-17-2 on the road, and is in fifth place behind the Bakersfield Condors.
"This is huge. This can decide the fate of our season," Lomberg said. "If we don't do as well as we plan, it could mean we don't make the playoffs. It couldn't be bigger."