Au Revoir Monsieur Gomez

William Wilson January 13, 2013 3
Scott Gomez in a Montreal Canadiens jerseyPhoto by the Associated Press

It’s fair to say Scott Gomez‘s New Jersey Devils days are far behind him.

The diminutive forward got word from his current team today – les Canadiens de Montréal – that they will not be requiring his services this season.

He apparently took the news in stride. Creepy smile on his face and all that jazz.

Gomez came to the Canadiens from the New York Rangers in 2009 via a seven-player trade. As we all know, however, he never quite lived up to his potential north of the border (or south of the board, too, it can be argued).

Under the new CBA, each NHL team has two “buyouts” so that they can adjust to the new salary caps rules though the buyouts can only be used during the next two off-seasons.

Gomez was an easy target for one of Montreal’s two buyouts (will Canadiens captain Brian Gionta be the victim of their other buyout?), but it was still expected that he would play for the team this season. Instead, he has been told that the Habs don’t require his services any longer.

Wanted or unwanted, Gomez carries a $7.357 million cap hit and is scheduled to make $5.5 million this season and $4.5 million next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014.

(In fairness to Gomez and the Canadiens, the city of Montreal has agreed to worse contracts.)

The decision is likely meant to account for the possibility that Gomez could get injured this season and find himself protected against a buyout. (For some strange reason, I just can’t image Gomez ever getting injured…)

By saving money on Gomez, the Canadiens will be freed to spend money on other overrated players. P. K. Subban is one of their main targets. (Keep in mind they’ve already agreed to overpay the often injured Andrei Markov.)

Gomez recorded a career-high 84 points (33 goals, 51 assists) with the New Jersey Devils in 2005-2006. In comparison, he only scored 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) with the Canadiens last season. He was also limited to 38 games last season due to injury.

At 33 years of age and clearly on the decline, this year’s lockout may have been a hint of Gomez’s future. I don’t expect to see him in the NHL again.

This marks the first good decision from Habs management since their odd decision to chase away goaltending legend Patrick Roy in 1995. Let’s hope they’ve finally turned the corner.

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