The Florida Panthers signed Scott Gomez to a 1-year contract worth $900,000 on Wednesday.
“Scott is a veteran center who adds further depth to the middle of our line-up,” said Tallon. “He is a quick and skilled forward, with a wealth of hockey experience including two Stanley Cup titles, who will be a leader for our younger players.”
It’s a rather good fit for both parties. Assuming, of course, they’re going to let Gomer be Gomer.
The San Jose Sharks weren’t interested in that, necessarily. They signed Gomez as a depth forward and kicked him some second-unit power play time. That’s not exactly utilizing the guy’s gifts as a playmaker, which is something the Panthers can obviously use in the pivot with Stephen Weiss having moved on to the Detroit Red Wings.
But where Gomez really impressed with the Sharks was in his intangibles.
Maybe you’d figure a guy who went from $7 million in salary down to $700,000 would be bitter about his lot in life. But Gomez set an example as a veteran player, in his attitude and his hustle.
This is a good thing if you’re the Florida Panthers and you have Jonathan Huberdeau on the path to being a star, playing the same position. And if you have a team that might play more than a few younger players this season.
“Gomer has been a very good player for us in a number of different ways. I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s almost like a third or a fourth coach. He’s trying to do things the right way. He’s trying to get guys to keep their shifts short, that we have a high guy, that we don’t turn pucks over. I didn’t know we were getting that in Scott Gomez, but we’re getting it, and he’s been a big influence that way.”
"It would be a slap in the face to everybody that's helped me along the way if I didn't help the young guys out and sit here and mope around," said Gomez. "I came here for a reason. It was my best chance to win, and it’s been great. When your number is called, you better be ready."
The Panthers are obviously not his best chance to win. But you get the feeling Gomez is going to be an asset to the team in way other veterans – see Kovalev, Alexei – were not. He's gone from being a punchline to a guy you root for.
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