Lomberg said with a smile, referring to his first NHL Contract that he signed on Sunday with the Calgary Flames.
Just a month ago a story on the AHL website spoke with Lomberg as he was set out on his goal to earn a contract.
That article…February 16. No contract.
This article…March 22. Contract in pocket.
“It’s a big relief,” Lomberg said. “Something I was shooting for since I can remember so to finally have all the papers signed and done, it’s pretty exciting. It’s out of the way and now I can focus on doing whatever I can to help my team win here and make a case for getting called up as soon as I can.”
And yet even with his contract in tow Lomberg quickly turns his focus back to his current objective. Getting the Heat to the playoffs.
“Obviously my number one goal is to play for the Calgary Flames and win a Stanley Cup but in the here and now, I want to win the Calder Cup,” Lomberg said. “I’ll go from there.”
February 16…his coach hoped he would be signed.
March 22…his coach thrilled he has now signed.
“The work he’s put in for us has been excellent and I’m really thrilled he’s been able to earn this contract,” Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska said. “We really love him here.”
What’s in that contract though really. That’s what Lomberg has to now decide.
Sure the contract states he’s a prospect of the Flames, and that yes, someday he could wear the “Flaming C” on his chest in front of 20,000+ fans, but it doesn’t mean he’s made it.
“I’m aware of the fact that just because I’m signed with the Flames doesn’t mean the work stops,” Lomberg explains. “I’m level headed about the fact that I’m going to have to work a lot harder if I want the opportunity to get called up and prove I belong in the NHL.”
And his coach knows that work will continue. He saw Lomberg in his first pro season last year go through ups and downs and come out the stronger. He saw him sent down to the ECHL twice last year when maybe he wasn’t the most deserving candidate to go down.
Lomberg stuck with the plan though. He put in the work and is driven to prove he belongs.
Sound familiar? Sound like the path of Garnet Hathaway?
Just a little bit.
“Ryan is also a great example to a lot of other players that if you put in the time and work, it can pay off,” Huska continued. “So having a guy around with that kind of character, like Garnet Hathaway a few years back, I think is an excellent thing to your dressing room. What he brings to the team is invaluable.”
That last question, what he brings to the table is now one that Flames fans search for and Lomberg must show them.
If you take his coaches word for it, you’ll hear exactly what Heat fans have known for two years now and what Flames fans can look forward to.
“He’s an energy guy is one way for me to put it,” Huska explains. “He’s in the game and involved all the time, and he forces people around him to be ready because he competes, tries to get under peoples skin, he’s a tough kid and he’s quick. There’s a lot to his game people will like.”
“The part that will draw you most to him though is that agitator role, that he does a very good job of it.”
So a team of Matthew Tkachuk, Garnet Hathaway and Ryan Lomberg? Watch out NHL. The Calgary Flames could be the most hated team by opposing teams and fans alike.
That always gets Lomberg going too. He loves the role of villain. He’s evoked strong feelings of hockey fans in California, being universally loved by Heat fans but universally despised by opposing AHL teams and fans.
Seems like we’ve heard similar stories about Tkachuk and Hathaway this year with the Flames too. The prospect of playing on the same team as them even got the newest Flames prospect excited.
“I’d look forward to that possibility for sure,” Lomberg said with a laugh and a smile. “Tkachuk and Hath too…it’d be a lot of fun for us, not a lot of fun for everyone else.”
“I’m laughing thinking about it.”
A little more work and effort and Lomberg can turn that from a fun idea to reality. His contract, which kicks in next year, could make his dream come true, but in the meantime, he’ll continue to focus on helping the Heat push for the postseason and contend for a Cup.
Then it’s back to work in hopes of having an opportunity to show he belongs up top.