No matter how many jokes that are made, or how many times he gets put down – Scott Gomez is still here and still producing.
After scoring only his second goal of the season Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes – his first since opening night – Gomez gave us the ultimate #TT (Throwback Thursday).
The 2000-Calder Trophy winner for being the league’s top rookie has come a long way from being one of USA-Hockey’s brightest young stars to being an almost forgotten castaway in Florida, but for one night, with one shot, we were treated to the old Gomez.
Never really a goal scorer throughout his career, as he has only topped the 20-goal plateau one time (a 30-goal campaign in 2005-2006), Gomez has topped 70-points three times, as well as 60-another three.
October 3 was the last time Gomez scored, against the Dallas Stars, and anytime that slump of that long is snapped – it would be understandable to take a personal exhale, but Gomez kept the task at hand,
Gomez will always be remembered for being a complete bust after signing his huge contract with the New York Rangers and then being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the Ryan McDonagh trade. But lost in that is a player that put together one of the more respectful resumes of any US born centers.
You can see the production drop from his time with the Devils compared to the rest of his career,
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While people tend to think you must score a point-per-game to be a top-line center, averaging 68-points over 82-games actual made him a solid first line center, and an exceptional second line pivot. Obviously that still doesn’t scream $51.5 million over seven years but he was still a first line center.
Since leaving New Jersey, his numbers have dropped to averaging 49-points per 82-games – a good number for a low-end second center/third liner.
Gomez was a pioneer of his own – the league’s first Hispanic hockey player, as well the first player from Alaska. With my mom from the country of Belize, and getting my first taste of organized hockey around the time he broke into the league, it was fun to see a player of the same ethnicity as me (other than the obvious other half).
With 12-games left on the season on the schedule, Gomez won’t hit the century mark on games played – as he would finish ten games shy. With the Panthers so loaded at center, it is hard to believe that the team would bring him back so Gomez may fall short of that career milestone, again falling short.
But for one night, one shot – Gomez turned back the clock and nearly led his team to a comeback victory. In a slight form of twisted irony, the Coyotes game could sum up his career – Gomez produces but yet still finds a way to come short.
So how will you remember Gomez? A solid American born producer, who was the rookie of the year, Stanley Cup champion and the first Hispanic hockey player – or as the player constantly disappointed after leaving New Jersey?
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