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Back in Calgary, Ryan Lomberg happy to be with Florida Panthers

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Florida panthers lomberg
Florida Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg gets to try his hand at driving a dog sled on Monday afternoon in Banff, Alberta. Lomberg, who spent five seasons within the Flames organization, will make his return to Calgary’s Saddledome on Tuesday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Sam Bennett is not the only member of the Florida Panthers to be celebrating a homecoming tonight against the host Calgary Flames tonight. Ryan Lomberg is as well.

Although Bennett was the more celebrated player within the Flames organization — he was the fourth overall pick by the team in 2014 — Lomberg spent five seasons with the Flames in one capacity or another.

Most of Lomberg’s time with Calgary was spent playing for the AHL team in Stockton, Calif., meaning he was working his way to try and get to the Saddledome.

Tonight, he will skate out onto that ice with the Panthers.

“I don’t think I approach the game different or these games with Calgary mean anything more but there is definitely some familiarity on the other side,” Lomberg told Florida Hockey Now from his hotel room in Banff, Alberta, on Monday morning.

“There are a couple of coaches on the bench who were with me in the AHL and coached me on the way up and I have played with a number of their players through the ranks. I built good relationships there and it’s always good to see them and compete against them.”

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Unlike Bennett, Lomberg got to play against a number of his old teammates earlier this month when the Flames came to Sunrise.

It was a nice game for Lomberg and the Panthers as he scored a goal in Florida’s 6-2 win on Jan. 4.

Lomberg has a career-high four goals and 11 points for the Panthers this season.

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“It feels good,” Lomberg said after Florida’s win over Calgary.

“Any time you win, it’s a good thing. They’re a good hockey club, so it’s an important one for us.”

Lomberg was not drafted after leaving the University of Maine but after playing with the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL got an invitation to attend the Flames’ development camp in 2015. 

He impressed the Flames enough to earn a minor league contract.

It was a start.

Florida panthers lomberg

Ryan Lomberg spent five seasons with the Calgary Flames bouncing around the organization but seemingly has found a home with the Florida Panthers. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Lomberg split his first pro season playing for Stockton and Adirondack (ECHL) and continued to attend Calgary development and rookie camps.

Finally, on Jan. 25, 2018, Lomberg made his NHL debut in the Battle of Alberta at Edmonton.

“It was awesome. Everything I could have imagined and more,” Lomberg told FHN not long after signing with the Panthers in 2020.

“That in itself was a dream come true. It was a great milestone for sure.”

Lomberg played in seven games for the Flames during the 2017-18 season and four more the following season.

But in 2019-20, he spent the entire year with Stockton and became a free agent.

New Florida general manager Bill Zito called when free agency opened and made it clear Lomberg was wanted by the Panthers.

Although the Flames’ interest was lukewarm at best, Florida appeared to be excited to have him. Zito offered a two-year contract and Lomberg was heading south.

It was a move which has benefited both.

”There was definitely a different interest level between Florida and Calgary,’’ Lomberg said. “Florida was interested in me coming over and helping the team win and Calgary … I didn’t feel they were trying to make sure I remained on their team. I was still kind of a in-between guy for them.

”However they wanted to view it, it is what it is. I couldn’t be happier with where I am now. Everything has been great for me in Florida. It has been a long journey, but I am where I want to be. I am happy with how things worked out.”

RELATED: Ryan Lomberg’s long road to Florida

Lomberg, who recently signed a one-year extension for next season, has become a fan favorite in South Florida for his aggressive play and high-energy pace.

He has also found a home on the team’s fourth line where he and Patric Hornqvist and Eetu Luostarinen have become the team’s most tenured line this season.

The trio have been playing together for 20 games thus far (Hornqvist missed some time with Covid) and appear to be a line Florida does not want to break up.

”I think we have been doing a really good job. Horny and Luosty are both very intelligent players and are really easy to play with,” said Lomberg, who got in 11 NHL games with the Flames and will play No. 61 with the Panthers on Tuesday night.

“Not only are they were intelligent, they are always working and competing their hardest. The three of us really feed off one another and the results have spoken for themselves.”

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