The Scott Gomez comeback starts now. Gomez has signed a one-year, $700,000 pro-rated deal with the San Jose Sharks, as reported by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. His deal comes just a handful of days after Wade Redden, his partner in bloated contracts that required buyouts, signed a deal with the St. Louis Blues.
Now that Gomez is back in an active NHL role and playing under a reasonable contract, what should we expect from the forward?
Someone is going to have to change the color scheme over at Did Scott Gomez Score. Ironically, the site also doubled as a "Does Scott Gomez have a team?" shortly after his previous contract was bought out.
Like Wade Redden, Gomez's new contract looks like spare change when compared to his old seven-year, $51.5 million contract he enjoyed with Montreal. At the very least, he'll have an opportunity to resurrect his career which has fallen to shambles over the course of the past several seasons.
Gomez has only scored more than 16 goals once in the past 11 seasons. He tallied 19 goals in 1999-00 and then set a career-high with 33 goals in 2005-06, but aside from those two years, Gomez has been remarkably average when it comes to lighting the lamp.
Gomez supporters, assuming there are still any out there, will likely point to the fact he sets up more goals than he scores. He starts the offense. He doesn't finish it. There's certainly some merit to this argument. If you toss out the 2011-12 season where Gomez skated in only 38 games, the forward has averaged roughly 61 points a season throughout his career. That total isn't elite but it certainly isn't anything you should write-off.
What will Gomez do now that he has a new team? Realistically, he should have more motivation than ever before. That's not to say he shouldn't have been motivated while in the midst of a seven-year, $51.5 million deal, but it is to say Gomez should have an extra spark now that the hockey world thinks he's washed up. He should work hard for San Jose, attempting to prove he still belongs in the NHL and can still produce like he once did.
For the Sharks, this is a win-win situation. If Gomez recaptures his old form that was able to set up offense on the regular, the Sharks improved at an extremely low cost. If he fails, the Sharks aren't out much money and everyone around the NHL would agree that Gomez was worth a shot.
Gomez has the pieces in place to succeed. He's still relatively young at age 33 (He's no Jagr or Kovalev) and he now joins a San Jose roster that's loaded with offensive weapons. More importantly, he's now with a team that's willing to give him a fresh start. Assuming he's able to prove his conditioning is NHL ready, Gomez should have no issue finding playing time in a shortened season where depth will be put to the test.
Personally, I hope Gomez is able to recapture a regular role in the NHL. It's been fun laughing at his enormous contract and lack of production, but it's time for the veteran to right the ship before his career runs out. There are a ton of stories emerging around this shortened NHL season. I for one hope a resurrection of Scott Gomez and Wade Redden are among them.