Scott Gomez is well aware that the coming Canadiens training camp, whenever it occurs, has a real chance of making or breaking his career. For that reason, Gomez needs to be in top condition at the git-go. To that end he’s been working out with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL in his Anchorage hometown the last three weeks. Gomez stated all along that, unlike the 2004-2005 lockout, he had no intention of playing in the ECHL.
His time has run out. Gomez was on, a professional tryout contract. The Aces had to declare their roster this week and, as expected, he was released. (Anchorage Daily News Report Here). His options now are to find a way to combine dry-land training with practice ice time or find a team to play with for the duration of the lockout. Really he has no option at all. Gomez desperately needs competition. Being behind his teammates and the rookies knocking on the door at training camp would probably guarantee what many consider as an already inevitable waiver trip to the American Hockey League with no chance of return.
Hindering plans in that direction are costs of insuring the remaining two years and 10 million dollars of his contract. I can’t imagine a team considering a payout of tens of thousands of dollars a month to guarantee his contract after a season in which he scored two goals and seven points, was on the injury list four different times including the year’s final three weeks with a concussion.
Gomez is now in a box with little wriggle room. His only options may be playing without insurance, which would be financially foolhardy or paying the insurance out of his own pocket.
Interesting to note that three NHL players with Alaska roots will start the ECHL season with the Aces; defenseman Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus), center Nate Thompson (Tampa Bay) and wing Joey Crabb (Washington). Dubinsky’s Blue Jacket contract calls for 3.75 million the coming season. Crabb and Thompson will make under a million.