Scott Gomez was supposed to lead the revival of the Montreal Canadiens, but since arriving in Quebec, he hasn’t been able to live up to his billing.
His first two seasons with the Canadiens were decent, but neither was up to the standard that earned him a $51 million contract back in 2007. At that point, he was a rising star for the New Jersey Devils. At this point, he’s nearly washed up at age 32 and hasn’t scored a goal in over half a season (42 games, to be exact).
What went wrong?
Scott Gomez has always been known as a great passer, but since arriving in Montreal, his game has gradually transitioned from passing to passive.
Gomez isn’t an elite goal scorer, but his total of 19 goals in two-plus seasons in Montreal is beyond disappointing. The odd thing is, his shooting percentages over that time period have only been slightly below his career average. The drop in goals is due mostly to a precipitous drop in shot attempts.
Prior to arriving in Montreal, Gomez averaged about 213 shots per season. Since joining the Canadiens, that average has dropped to just under 169 shots per season.
The numbers speak for themselves. Gomez seems to still have the capability to score, but for some reason, he hasn’t been as aggressive as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
Gomez’ passing skill makes him a great fit on the man advantage and earlier in his career, he was an outstanding part of the power play units in New Jersey and New York. Yet, since he’s joined the Canadiens, his role on the power play has been significantly diminished.
In his 33-goal 2005-2006 season in New Jersey, Gomez received about five minutes of power play ice time per game. After moving to New York, he averaged over four minutes of ice time with the man advantage. With Montreal, Gomez’ time on the power play has dropped all the way down to about two and a half minutes per game.
Some of this change is probably a result of his reduced production, but being held off of the power play might be hurting Gomez’ performance at even strength. The extra time and space with the man advantage could help to get Gomez back into a rhythm, much like the way scorers in basketball are helped by converting a few free throws.
It’s hard to force a struggling player back on to the man advantage, but that might be just what Gomez needs.
Scott Gomez’ disappointing career in Montreal has been a cataclysmic collision of poor performance and inflated expectations.
It’s tough to feel bad for a guy making over $7 million per year, but the way in which we perceive Scott Gomez is firmly rooted to his ridiculous contract.
That contract was undoubtedly fueled by his breakout season in 2005-2006, when Gomez set career-highs in goals and points, scoring 14 more goals than he had in any season prior, or since. That season, Gomez’ shooting percentage spiked to 13.5 percent. Over the rest of his career, Gomez has never posted a shooting percentage above 9.3 percent.
Consequently, that 2005-2006 season is the only time he’s ever scored more than 20 goals.
When Gomez was traded to Montreal, he seemed like a guy who just needed a change of scenery. Things weren’t quite working out in New York, but it seemed like he could regain his form and live up to his gargantuan contract someplace else.
That was never going to happen.
Gomez actually led the Canadiens in assists in his first season with the team, but with a cap number over $7 million, according to nhlnumbers.com, a total of 59 points isn’t going to cut it, especially for a player who contributes very little on the defensive end.
Gomez’ cap figure is among the highest in the league. For this season, it’s only about $100,000 less than the salaries of Steven Stamkos and Marian Gaborik, both of whom are leading their teams in scoring.