Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Free Agency Matchmaker: Scott Gomez

The start of free agency (July 1) is almost upon us, and to help shed some light on the subject, BMR brings you the fourth in a series of profiles chronicling this summer's free agent class. Next up is New Jersey's Scott Gomez.

In this year's free agent class, Scott Gomez is probably the safest bet. He has steadily performed at a high level for the Devils ever since he set foot on the Meadowlands' ice. Over the last seven seasons, he's helped lead the Devils to two Stanley Cups, while missing only 26 games over that span.

Mmm... Stanley Cup...
Devils Weapon

Every year, you know exactly what you're going to get out of Gomez on the ice. He has scored 60 or more points five times in his career, but only once has he scored more than 70 (83 in 05-06). He had never missed more than 6 games in a season, until this past year when he missed a grand total of 10. We might as well call him hockey's version of 'Mr. Consistency'.

It hasn't been all peaches and cream for Gomez in New Jersey. Two summers ago, the Devils were not able to lock him up long term. Gomez signed for only one year, as the Devils failed to lock up their home grown star long term. Last summer, New Jersey's cap woes created an even more difficult situation. The two sides ended up going to arbitration, where Gomez was awarded a one-year deal valued at $5 million. There was a lost of speculation as to whether or not the Devils would even accept the deal due to cap constraints, but in the end they were able to hold onto him.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match...
(in no particular order)
  • New Jersey Devils: This one seems to be a sure bet; the Devils won't re-sign Scott Gomez. After last year's arbitration issues, and the continuing crunch of the salary cap in New Jersey, it's going to be tough for them to hold onto their star. The Devils have already used $30 million of next season's cap space committed to only 11 players. It's going to be a real tight squeeze again this year in New Jersey. As the Star Ledger reports, it just doesn't look good.
  • Philadelphia Flyers: Well, it seems that I name the Flyers in each one of these articles as a possible suitor. It's not without reason, though. The Toronto Sun is reporting that the Flyers have contacted the Devils about acquiring Gomez's rights prior to July 1st. For New Jersey's sake, they should do it. There's no reason not to take a first or second round pick for a guy whom you most likely won't re-sign anyway.
  • Edmonton Oilers: What's also interesting is that the Sun went on to say that Kevin Lowe has also called the Devils about the pre-July 1st rights to Gomez. We all know that the Oilers are looking to improve fast this off season, and Gomez would certainly fill the gap left by Ryan Smyth. To add to that, Gomez would probably come a bit cheaper. He is also from Alaska, which is a heck of a lot closer to Edmonton than New Jersey.
  • Calgary Flames/Ottawa Senators: Rumors have been swirling about the possibility of these two teams signings Gomez, but Fox Sport's Spector has tried to put it all to rest. As it stands right now, neither team has the cap room.
If you put a gun to my head and made me choose a destination for Gomez: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Edmonton. All we keep hearing from Edmonton is how badly Kevin Lowe wants to make a splash, in any capacity, and I think he's going to get his chance in Gomez. Gomez would fit the team very nicely, and might feel better about the location, since he is from that side of the continent. That being said, there are going to be some serious shots taken at him by other northeastern teams, such as the Rangers, Islanders and Flyers.

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