Scott Gomez isn’t exactly the big centreman most of us had in mind. In fact, the team just got smaller by dealing 6′, 203 lb. Chris Higgins and minor leaguers defencemen Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko to the New York Rangers for 5’11, 200 lb Gomez, plus AHL’er Tom Pyatt and ECHL defenceman Mike Busto.
Frankly, I don’t know what to think about this. Yes, Higgins underachieved with the Canadiens, never blossoming into the player the organization thought he would become. Same for Gomez in New York. He never became the star on Broadway they thought he’d be, like he was when he was in New Jersey. There, he was an up-and-coming young gun, a two-time Stanley Cups winner over in the swamp.
The problem also remains that Gomez stands to make a silly 8 million this season, which means the bank is perilously close to being broke in Habtown as far as nabbing other players from out there goes.
It also seems sad that the Habs gave up on McDonagh, who was expected to amount to something in Montreal. Maybe he wasn’t developing the way they thought, or maybe Gainey just really likes Gomez and decided to pay a hefty price.
If this is all the movement Gainey makes, there’s going to be a lot of disappointed Habs fans who understand as much as the brass that the Canadiens aren’t about to set the world on fire with the existing team as is.
Maybe this will all work out. Gomez will shine as a Canadien, and Gainey will end up looking like Sam Pollock. It’s going to be a wait-and-see.
This is what I know about Gomez. I saw him play in Powell River against the home town Kings when he was with the BCHL South Surrey Eagles. He was a huge star in this league, and fans came out to see him. But in Powell River, there were a group of about ten people in the stands who rode him unmercifully, and Gomez got so upset, he started waving his stick and answering back to the hecklers.
When the game began, Gomex was great. He was a beautiful, if somewhat unorthodox skater, and he was great carrying the puck from his end to deep into Powell River’s. But, at about the five minute mark, and maybe because the hecklers had done their job, Gomez was involved in some nasty business on the ice and was promptly thrown out.
So I saw him for five minutes. But I liked the five minutes worth.