The Montreal Canadiens have acquired Scott Gomez, and his sizeable contract, from the New York Rangers in a seven-player trade. With the free-agent signing window opening yesterday, the Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey got an early jump on the competition landing the play-making centre he had been seeking. Gomez will earn a salary of US$8million (Dh29.3m) next season. The Canadiens also received forward Tom Pyatt and defenceman Michael Busto from New York while sending forward Christopher Higgins and defencemen Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik the other way.
"We are extremely pleased to have acquired an impact centreman in Scott Gomez," Gainey said. "He is an outstanding playmaker and an excellent skater. "Having won the Stanley Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, he brings a lot of play-off experience to our team." The first Hispanic player taken in the first round of the NHL draft, Gomez was selected 27th overall by the Devils in 1998 and went on to claim the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
He spent seven seasons in New Jersey winning two Stanley Cups before signing a seven-year contract as an unrestricted free agent with the Rangers two years ago. Gomez tied Nikolai Zherdev for the lead in team scoring last season with 58 points but is more renowned for creating opportunities for others. He has scored 148 goals and accumulated 578 points over nine seasons, where he has missed just 32 games because of injury.
Higgins, selected by the Canadiens 14th overall in the 2002 draft, struggled last season scoring just 12 goals and 23 points. It was the first time the left winger had scored less than 20 goals since entering the league. * Reuters