Gomez is Single, Any Takers?

by Jacob Saltiel

Playing With House Money
from 25stanley.com

For the last three seasons Gomez hasn’t been bad; he’s been awful. Despite how poorly he played, the losuy perception of his value is magnified several times by the approximately $7.3m contract he’s on the verge of being bought-out from.

It’s extremely tempting to say that there is no way Gomez will merit even a sniff of interest from other teams if he becomes available, but he does have a history- certainly not a recent one- of producing offence when playing alongside talented linemates. Please note that this does not mean BGS thinks Gomez is a valuable player, only that some teams might sign him for almost nothing to see what happens.

On a minimum contract, then, might there be a team out there that can put him to work on a 2nd-line and hope for signs of life?

After combing through depth charts and throwing out all of the teams that have absolutely no use whatsoever for Gomez, here’s a list of sixteams that might be interested. This isn’t based on any rumours floating around the internet, only teams that lack centres at the moment. Some of those listed are more plausible than others:

– Buffalo Sabres: Actually, with Roy gone, Hodgson and Leino have to share the 1st and 2nd spots up front. Hodgson’s still young and Leino might not be very good at all. It’s unlikely, but it’s within the realm of possibility that Regier picks up Gomez as a veteran safety net.

– Calgary Flames: With Jokinen gone, the Flames’ top centre at the moment is Cammalleri– assuming he’s moved back to the middle. Backlund hasn’t shown much of anything, and Roman Cervenka is a total unknown. Gomez could be picked up by Feaster to dish to Iginla, given the lack of other options.

– Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets are terrible, and last year they played Brassard more minutes than he may have deserved (-20 +/-), regardless of anything Allan Walsh says. Right now, they have Johansen, Umberger, and Anisimov playing for their top-two centre spots, and not much else. They’re an injury away from getting their heads turned by Gomez. Most importantly, Howson’s still the GM, right?

– Minnesota Wild: They have Koivu on the top-line and probably want to keep space open for Granlund. Having said that, without much depth down the middle, they may toy with the idea of reuniting Gomez and Parise, especially if Parise expresses fond memories of their time in Jersey together to management.

– New York/FutureBrooklyn Islanders: With Nielsen, Bailey, and Tavares down the middle, I’m not sure where Gomez fits, unless it’s in the Doug Weight, Crusty Veteran role.

– Phoenix Coyotes: If no young centres establish themselves in Phoenix behind Hanzal and Vermette, it’s possible that Gomez gets brought in to pass to whatever it is that constitutes Phoenix’s top-line. Dave Tippett, the Macgyver of NHL coaches might be the only one capable of getting anything resembling competency out of Gomez at this point. On a bargain deal, it’s right in Phoenix’s wheelhouse, too.

I’d be surprised if any other teams bother checking in on Gomez, even the Devils, since they have Henrique, Zajac, and the still-productive Elias.

So, good luck out there, Gomez! You’re about to find out just how much your agent is worth…


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