In either an indictment of the New Jersey Devils' lack of confidence in their minor league depth or the slavish nostalgia of their general manager, center Scott Gomez was officially signed on Monday after practicing with the team all season.
The Devils have two centers, Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac, injured. They’re also missing Martin Havlat and Ryane Clowe, both of whom were obviously acquired for their stable health history. They have no extra forwards that are healthy. Now they have one in Scott Gomez, who played with the Devils from 2000-07.
Zajac suffered a lower-body injury in Friday's 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit. Neither Havlat nor Zajac will travel with the team for its trip to Pittsburgh and Toronto this week, Lamoriello said.
Zajac has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to his last game on Friday. He would be eligible to return Saturday against Washington. When I asked Lamoriello if it's possible that Zajac will be out long term, he replied, "I hope not."
On paper, it’s a rather interesting addition based on Gomez’s history. He skated on a line with Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr at practice on Monday. Gomez formed the EGG Line with Elias and Brian Gionta while with the Devils. He centered Jagr with the Rangers, although that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
He’s also played with Mike Cammalleri back in their Montreal days, so Peter DeBoer has some options for him.
Oh, wait … what’s this other paper here? It reads “SCOTT GOMEZ STATS.”
Twelve points in 46 games with the Florida Panthers, including three in his last 16 games last season? Fifteen points in 39 games with the San Jose Sharks? A combined minus-45 in his last four seasons?
As we wrote earlier, it’s an unlikely reunion that could morph into a feel-good story. He’s gone from “an overpriced pariah, involved in one of the most lopsided trades in recent NHL history and whose inability to score a goal made him a national punchline” to a guy who hung with the practice squad until he finally got another chance with the Devils.
Despite his leaving for the Rangers’ money in 2007, something tells me Devils fans are going to embrace this comeback in ways they may not have anticipated a few years ago. Provided he gets some results.