Some Thoughts About Scott Gomez

Nothing is official yet but it looks like the Montreal Canadians and former-New York Ranger Scott Gomez are going to be parting ways.

From Puck Daddy:

After the Canadiens formally announced that Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Marc Bergevin will take over their vacant general manager's job, Louis Jean of Sportsnet reported on AM 590 in Toronto that Gomez's contract will in fact be bought out by Montreal.

Scott Gomez was shipped over to Montreal along with Tom Pyatt in exchange for Chris Higgins, Pavel Valentenko, Doug Janik (never signed with the Rangers), and Ryan McDonagh. Of course, we all know what Ryan McDonagh has come to mean to this team and how ridiculous this trade looks in hindsight. Ryan McDonagh is currently playing on the top pair of the New York Rangers alongside Dan Girardi and is, without a doubt, the most promising player on the Rangers blueline. With Marc Staal's concussion this year the team called up the gifted McDonagh to play top-pair minutes and he has been simply outstanding.

Gomez, on the other hand, played just 38 games this year, burying only 2 goals and registering 9 assists. His play, should it be coming to an end, as a Hab was absolutely atrocious. We're talking Wade Redden-caliber atrocious. In his three years with the Habs he scored 108 points in 196 games, all while eating up $7,357,143 on the cap.

Bob McKenzie had some thinking about the best way forward for the Habs and Gomez, something I like to call, "The Wade Redden 'Solution'".

Buying out Gomez's contract, of course, is the dumbest thing any organization could possibly do in a salary cap world. Here's why:

If MTL sends Gomez to AHL, it frees up $7.3M in cap space each of next two seasons. Price to be paid for that is Gomez's $10M in salary.

MTL could save $3.3M cash by buying out Gomez contract but would have salary cap hits of $3.5M, $4.5M, $1.66M and $1.66M for each of 4 yrs.

No organization that has money (MTL, TOR, NYR etc) would or could justify a buyout that would create dead cap space to save a few million $.

Of course, there's a new CBA coming. Who knows what the rules will be on amnesty buyouts, hiding mistakes in the minors etc.

There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to the best thing to do with a contract like Gomez when the player simply isn't producing. A lot of the potential "solutions" might all be rendered moot by what the next CBA lays out in terms of how to handle buyouts and as McKenzie put it, "hiding mistakes in the minors."

Should the Habs buy Gomez out they will pay the following over the next four seasons:

2012-13: $3,523,810
2013-14: $4,523,810
2014-15: $1,666,667
2015-16: $1,666,667

All of this had me thinking...

I am sure there are a lot of us who are laughing about how screwed Montreal got in the trade that shipped Gomez out of New York. I think we should all think about how close we were to being stuck with Gomez and his albatross of a contract until 2016. I think we should also all be thinking about the high risk of going after the big fish in the free agent market. The Rangers continually play with fire by throwing huge contracts at free agents; Redden, Drury, Gomez, Gaborik, and Richards. How many of these big contracts have worked out for us? How many times will the club throw money bags at the next big free agent to hit the market and commit to huge deals that could potentially hamstring the club and its efforts to succeed and retain its home-grown talent?

Many of you will say that with the high risk comes the high reward, but I would like to think that there is something to be learned from the demotion of Redden, the buying out of Drury, and now the almost certain buying-out of Scott Gomez. With all of the young talent we have coming up through our system I would hope the management of the New York Rangers hockey club starts thinking about the dangers involved in playing the free-agent lottery. Just how many more times can we escape albatross contracts without getting burned by them?

We all know some of the big names hitting the free agent market this year, and I see people on Blueshirt Banter clamoring for Parise and Semin and I shake my head. It simply isn't a sustainable design to keep throwing bags of money at big free agents. The Rangers are committed to Brad Richards until he is 40 years old in the year 2020 where he'll be the same $6,667,667 cap hit he was when he signed him this year at the age of 31. We have our big fish (well, we have a few), there may not be enough room for more in our tank (yes, even a tank as big as New York city).

The year to think about going after the next big fish free agent is when Gaborik comes off the books in two years. Until then the Rangers can use the cap room we have to secure and lock-up some of our great young players with reasonable contracts. We all know that New York players get paid a little bit more because of the stage they play on, we have to keep that in mind when it comes to guys like Del Zotto, Stepan, Kreider, Sauer, Anisimov, and Hagelin needing deals, all of which, with the exception of Kreider, have to happen in the next two to three years.

So, no matter what happens with the Rangers playoff run this year, try to keep in mind that we can't always have the best toy in the toy store. If we can find a way to bring in a Zach Parise for a reasonable cap hit for a player of his talent than I will be all for bringing him to New York, but we have to keep in mind the Rangers aren't the only ones who are after him... we can't always win the bidding war.

Enjoy the game tonight and the rest of the series, I just wanted to ramble about this and get it out of my head. Sorry for any incoherence or stream-of-consciousness, I know it can be a labor to read.

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