Sometimes in the sports world, a move is made that is in the best interest of all involved. The Montreal Canadiens electing to pay Scott Gomez a whopping $5.5 million to sit at home this season is a perfect example.
Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin announced Sunday that Gomez will not be part of the team this season. Bergevin intends to buy out the final year of Gomez’s contract at the end of the season. If the Alaskan-born Gomez were to get injured, that could not happen. And Bergevin simply wasn’t willing to take the risk.
Smart move, Marc.
Montreal will be able to buy out Gomez by paying him $4.5 million next season, the final year of a seven-year contact he got from the New York Rangers. Since the salary cap will drop by $10 million next year, teams are allowed two amnesty buyouts that won’t count against their cap hit.
Gomez, who has 686 points in 910 NHL games, has been an embarassment for the Canadiens over the last two seasons. Last year he scored just two goals and 11 points in 38 games. The year before that, Gomez had just seven tallies and 38 points in 80 contests. During his stint with the Habs, Gomez went more than a calendar year between goals, finally bulging the twine last February against the Islanders.
Former GM Bob Gainey is the man responsible for bringing Gomez to Montreal. Back in 2009, Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto were acquired from the Rangers in exchange for Ryan McDonough, Chris Higgins and Pavel Valentenko.
Really, it wasn’t that outrageous of a trade at the time. Sure, Gomez had an expensive contract, but he was reasonably productive with the Rangers. Even during his first season in Montreal, he did OK. The 33-year-old had 59 points during his first season with the Habs and added 14 points in 19 playoff games.
But things went downhill after that. Gomez became a target for fan discontent in Montreal and a running joke throughout the league. It was an unfortunate situation for a player who was a big part of two Stanley Cup victories with the New Jersey Devils.
Is this the end of Gomez’s NHL career? Well, he may get a contract offer next year, but it will be at a significantly reduced stipend. Then again, other teams might see his production during the last two years as a major red flag and ignore him completely.