On a quiet Sunday afternoon, the Calgary Flames made an unusual announcement. GM Barry stepped up to the podium with news surrounding one of the best all-time NEFHL players. Scott Gomez, the former 2008-09 Stanley Cup champ who hadn't been seen anywhere near an NEFHL rink in the past 2 years is returning to the NEFHL North of the border. The veteran of 490 games and 480 points in the regular season, combined with 48 points in 69 playoff games, was suddenly exiled to the AHL in 2011-12, after only 6 games. Gomez, 32 at the time, had 0 points in those 6 games and the Rangers were clearly not satisfied with his production based on the 3rd year of a 4 year contract worth 5.4 million per year.
Gomez would end up being bought out by the Rangers at years end and despite getting some offers over the past year and 5 months, never received a deal he thought was right. But after holding out this long and realizing there would be no better opportunity to return to the league he once dominated, with a contending team no less, Gomez made the decision to sign a bargain 3-year, $550,000 per year deal.
The Flames are not anticipating Gomez to return to his point per game production. But they do hope his speed and veteran presence can help out a stagnant third line, while also providing small cap relief.
"Every dollar counts these days" said a concerned Barry. "We are not usually in a position where we have no room to play with and deal with injuries. We have to keep Brunner in the minors to deal with Joni's injury and it's crippled us."
Gomez steps into Handzus' position as third line center while Handzus slides back to left wing on the fourth line. Any production above the 5 points in 28 games that Handzus has, will be an improvement for this third line that was a threat game in and game out last season.
"I've been told that there would be no hesitation to send me down to Abbotsford if I can't help the team out, so I'll do anything I can to do that. I hope my speed will gel well with Hansen and Gagne since were all around 80SP so hopefully we find some chemistry".