Scott Gomez has signed a one year contract with the Florida Panthers for 900-thousand dollars. According to GM Dale Tallon, his team is getting “a veteran centre who adds further depth to the middle of our lineup. A quick and skilled forward with a wealth of hockey experience including two Stanley Cup titles.”
Gomez played last season with San Jose after the Canadiens, in mid January, placed him on waivers and used one of their two compliance buyouts to rid themselves of the 7-million dollar a season cap hit they acquired in what turned out to be a terrible trade with the New York Rangers.
Nobody’s ready to send Gomez to the poor-house quite yet. The Canadiens paid Gomez a pro-rated $5.5 million not to play with the club in the lockout shortened season. They will cut a check for 4.5 million dollars to cover the buyout penalty for the upcoming final year of his seven year contract.
Gomez surprised many last season in San Jose with his positive attitude after signing a 700-thousand dollar contract, which was a huge comedown from his previous contract. Attitude was never Gomez’s problem in Montreal either. The Panthers are hoping he’ll take that same leadership approach with a youth-laden Florida lineup.
Still unsigned off last season’s Canadiens roster are – C-Jeff Halpern, C-Petteri Nokelainen and D-Tomas Kaberle. Earlier this week Colby Armstrong announced he would play next season in Sweden. Yannick Weber signed with Vancouver and Michael Ryder agreed to a deal with the New Jersey Devils.
Among the more prominent who played at one time for the Canadiens C-Mike Ribeiro agreed to sign a 4-year, 22-million dollar deal with the Phoenix Coyotes, D-Mike Komisarek took a 2.8 million dollar cut in pay when he accepted a 700-thousand dollar contract from the Carolina Hurricanes, C-Maxim Lapierre moves from Vancouver to the St. Louis Blues (2-years @1.1M), RW Benoit Pouliot has joined the New York Rangers (1-yr. 1.3M), LW-Matt D’Agostini one year with Pittsburgh for 550 thousand and Aaron Palushaj signed a one year 600 thousand dollar deal with Carolina. C-Saku Koivu elected to remain with the Anaheim Ducks on a one year deal worth 2.5 million and Kyle Chipchura re-signed with Phoenix on a multi-year deal. D-Marc-Andre Bergeron signed a three year contract with Zurich in the Swiss League.
The only remaining unrestricted free agent from last season’s Canadiens roster without a contract is centre Jeff Halpern. Still unsigned among those who once played for the Canadiens are Jose Theodore (last season with Florida), Mikhail Grabovsky (Toronto), Hal Gill (Nashville), Guillaume Latendresse (Ottawa), Ryan O’Byrne (Toronto),