Canadiens Player Profile: Scott Gomez
Note to the reader: This will be the beginning of a series of articles reviewing the newly acquired players who have signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
Scott Gomez has had a decorated career. Just creeping up in his 30s, Gomez is considered to have a lot left in the tank. This obviously played a big impact in the deal. Canadians GM Bob Gainey traded away Christopher Higgers, who recently signed to a contract with the New York Rangers, along with others to pick up the 5' 11", 200 pound left handed center.
The former Calder Memorial Trophy winning center is also a Stanley Cup Champion, as you undoubtedly know with the New Jersey Devils. His best success was playing alongside Brian Gionta, who was also recently acquired by the Canadiens.
To date, Gomez has played in 706 NHL games posting 578 career points of which 148 were goals.
Before the free agent frenzy started, Bob Gainey was quoted as saying, "It's no surprise we are in the market for a big first line center."
Gomez is not that big, but he will be the first line center for the Montreal Canadiens.
His salary was what was most spoken about when he was acquired, an annual cap hit of $7.35 million. Not only is his salary costly, but so was the price to acquire him.
Les Habitants had to send down a consistent 20 goal scorer in Christopher Higgers, alongside former first-round draft pick Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko (who hasn't seen any NHL experience), and the rights to Doug Janik.
Montreal was thrown Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto, both having never played in the NHL before.
The Rangers agreed to this deal in order to free up cap space. This is pretty apparent as they have signed injury-plagued Marian Gaborik to a multi-year deal.
Both Gaborik and the New York Rangers have stated his injury-riddled days are well behind, and he is capable of playing a full season.
Gomez last season didn't have a fruitful season, limiting himself to 58 points, 16 of which were goals. With the league average for points being 23, Gomez produced some results. It's still not enough to warrant his salary and cap hit, which is the sixth highest in the NHL for the upcoming season.
Canadiens GM Bob Gainey said, "We are extremely pleased to have acquired a player of the caliber of Scott Gomez. He is an outstanding play maker and an excellent skater. Having won the Stanley Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, he brings to our team a lot of playoff experience. Scott is an elite player who will certainly contribute to the success of our team for years to come."
That is what Montreal hopefuls are praying for. If the production of Gomez continues to steadily decline, the salary cap hit will make trading the center nearly impossible in the future.
Then the Habs would be stuck with a lame duck center at an expensive price for the next 5 years.
Gomez was selected in the first round in the 1998 NHL entry draft, going as the 27th overall pick by New Jersey. His playoff experience is undeniable, he was named the league's best rookie forward in his entry year while simultaneously winning the Stanley Cup for the first time.
It is this reason why GM Bob Gainey most likely signed Brian Gionta. It is alongside this winger that Scott Gomez enjoyed his most success and best point production. Surely Bob Gainey wishes to rekindle this chemistry that existed.
All in all, you can expect Gomez to be alongside Brian Gionta once again, along with newly acquired Mike Cammalleri. He is coming off his best NHL performance to date with 82 points, 39 of which where goals with the Calgary Flames.
All three of those players where newly acquired by the Montreal Canadiens. You don't need a crystal ball to see that they have more then just being the future top line of the Canadiens.
All are considered to be relatively small, sticking with the Canadiens motif that skill outweighs size. Will it succeed in the NHL? Only time will tell.
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