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Injury riddled Devils find fit for free agent Scott Gomez

The New Jersey Devils have signed center Scott Gomez to a one-year deal. Gomez, 34, has been practicing with the team since the beginning of training camp, and will fill the hole left by injuries to Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It has been a good week for veterans of the New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup championship teams. First, Martin Brodeur gets a tryout with the St. Louis Blues. Now, Scott Gomez has signed a deal with the Devils.

Just weeks before he’s set to celebrate his 35th birthday, Gomez has inked the deal with New Jersey based on the Devils’ lack of center depth after injuries sidelined Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. It’s been reported that neither Zajac nor Henrique will make the team’s current road trip. So, with no current timeline on either player, the move that GM Lou Lamoriello has chosen to make is sign the former Devil.

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, really, as Gomez has been skating with the Devils since training camp. What is surprising, however, is that it appears the team is going to slot him between Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr as soon as Tuesday night when the team travels to Pittsburgh. A line that may have stricken fear into opponents in 2000-01, sure, but the line mates will have a combined age of 114. Oh, and they’re being trotted out as the Devils de facto top unit.

According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, Lamoriello said that the Devils may even use Gomez on the power play, citing his hockey sense and passing ability as two major skills the Devils can utilize.

A first round pick of the Devils, 27th overall, in 1998, Gomez has spent time with the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, and Florida Panthers in the seven seasons since he’s left New Jersey. The latter half of his career has been most infamously noted for lengthy goalless droughts, including one that spanned 60 games while a member of the Canadiens.

The thing is, though, that Gomez can still be an effective player. The Alaska native has won nearly 50 percent of his draws over the last five seasons, took on primarily defensive zone starts, and did an admirable job driving play on a poor Florida Panthers team last season.

He’s unlikely to register many points, but as a stopgap for a depleted lineup, you could argue that the Devils could have done much worse. You can probably place some money on Gomez somehow scoring on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, because that’s just the kind of thing we’d never expect to happen.

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