Scott Gomez and Wade Redden make sense for the Canucks

Think about how important Brian Campbell and Sheldon Souray were to their respective teams last season after being forced out of their old organizations due to a high salary cap hit. 

Now, think about the possibilities of compliance buy-outs to guys like Shawn Horcoff and Jay Bouwmeester in the offseason. Or, if you want to look at this season alone, Scott Gomez and Wade Redden. 

From Kypreos:

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See, Scott Gomez and Wade Redden are frequently the targets of jokes, but their only crimes in this world are being overpaid. With the ability to negotiate a fairer contract, Gomez is actually a player who fits into the Canucks’ current set-up, by virtue of being an above average puck-possession player who is defensively responsible. 

I wrote this yesterday at the Backhand Shelf, joking that overpaid players have become the new market inefficiency:

If you aren’t on board with what Gomez can bring to a hockey team now, well, it’s not useful to quote numbers at you from the dregs of the Internet stat book that haven’t made their way into mainstream hockey parlance. Gomez is a solid puck-possession centreman who can’t shoot. He makes up for his goal-scoring ineptitude by being a relatively good playmaker. Unfortunately, in the last two seasons, the Habs have shot just 4.7% and 6.6% at even strength with Gomez on the ice, far below NHL expectation. As a result, a player who put up 50 points in each of the three years at the start of his new contract (for a strong defensive centreman, 50 points is pretty good) saw his totals dwindle to 38, and, an awful low, 11, over the last two seasons, the 11 last season coming in a campaign when Gomez could play just 38 games.

The thing is, he’s still useful. He’s not $7.4M useful, but he’s useful to a team at $2M or $3M, or whatever they’re willing to pay him. Given that his salary is nearly $2M less than his salary cap hit this season, he’s useful for a team who wants to spend below the salary floor but still make it up to the $44M lower limit. There just isn’t the time, unfortunately, for teams to make wise player moves between now and season’s beginning.

With Roberto Luongo, the Canucks are seeking an established centreman. For free, there’s a chance the Canucks could land Scott Gomez, who is not only a player significantly underrated because his salary for the last five years has been so high, and the price paid by the Montreal Canadiens to acquire him in the summer of 2009 was so high.

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Just because a player was expensive doesn’t mean he’s a write-off. I wouldn’t take Gomez for $7.4M, or even half of that, but if the Canucks can negotiate a reasonable contract for this season and next, why not bring aboard a player looking for offensive redemption after going a near calendar year without a goal? He scored just twice last season in 38 games and was played on the injured reserve three times. He was so broken that Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin was willing to eat his salary cap hit to have Gomez sit on his couch so he wouldn’t get hurt. That would open the door to the Habs’ buying him out in the summer.

But Gomez wouldn’t want that, since not playing decreases his value even further. If a deal has been reached to allow the Canadiens to buy out Gomez and the Rangers to buy out Wade Redden, this represents to possibilities to fill gaps on the Canucks roster, which lie right now in the depth centre positions and on defence. With the additions of Jim Vandermeer and Cam Barker, the Canucks are just stacking bodies on the left side, but I’m willing to bet Redden provides more to a club at this point, particularly if his contract is closer in line with a depth role.

I think where the world sees broken players, I see terrific opportunity. Both players make sense for the Canucks, especially at a price they can negotiate.

  • The best part of this would be seeing the what sort of abysmal on-ice shooting percentage a line with twin outliers Booth and Gomez would put up. 5%? Maybe! I’m getting excited just thinking about the missed opportunities!

  • KleptoKlown

    According to CapGeek, the Canucks only have $1.7 Million left to spend. Gomez would fit nicely. He could be the everyday 3rd line Center, and move up to the 2nd line is Kesler’s absence.

    I still like Lapierre as the 3rd line center.

  • Graphic Comments

    Are you suggesting we grab Gomez/Redden at the deadline, then buy them out this summer? That’s a pretty big ask for the Aquilinis for a rental player, considering we wouldn’t be able to re-sign them in the summer. Are you instead suggesting we wait until they’re bought out then pick them up in UFA? I can’t see how we’d go past the trade deadline without addressing the 2/3C need.

    Sorry Cam, but I think either you or I don’t fully grok amnesty buyouts, here. As far as I’m aware, buyouts start in the summer and a player that’s bought out may not play for the team that bought him out for a year or two. Not sure how your proposal is workable.

  • BrudnySeaby

    I hope they can tempt him with a 2 year contract in the 3 – 4m. range (he will have his big payday with the buyout!). Gomez can have a shot at redemption and we have another centreman that can fill the hole now and move down to the 4th line and play with Manny and Weise.

    Also, we don’t really know how long Kesler will take to get healthy. Plus there is always the risk with Kesler of returning to early. And perhaps with a veteran like Gomez the team could give Kesler even more time to heal and not just be 90% when he returns but closer to a 100%.

  • BrudnySeaby

    @ Cale. As far as I understand it, the NHLPA and the NHL re-negotiated and came to the understanding that a team can use one of their 2 buy-outs right now, rather than waiting until the summer. So that would enable the Canadiens to buy Gomez out. He is then a UFA and can sign with another team.

    Correct Cam?

      • BrudnySeaby

        Because your information is outdated, that’s why. This story is in response to news that broke today, which will allow the Habs to buy him out earlier.

      • BrudnySeaby

        Because your information is outdated, that’s why. This story is in response to news that broke today, which will allow the Habs to buy him out earlier.

        • BrudnySeaby

          Interesting, I hadn’t seen that. Thanks.

          Link for anyone who’s interested:

          So I guess it *does* make sense, then. Are the Habs still on the hook for half the cap if Gomez gets picked up off waivers? If that’s the case, he might actually be an attractive pickup for some teams who think he might end up commanding 3.5 on the free market, anyway.

      • BrudnySeaby

        I think there are 2 advantages for doing it now:
        – If the player is injured, you cannot buy him out. So that would be the advantage of buying him out now. No risk of injury.
        – There will be no penalty against the cap next year, if they buy him out right now. Yes, it will count against the cap now, but the Canadiens have capspace now. Maybe not so much next year.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Cam, another question. When a team buys out one of it’s players, can they themselves resign that player? For example, Canucks buy-out Ballard right now and re-sign him for 2m per year for say next 4 years. I think not, but am not sure.

  • BrudnySeaby

    What would we even call Booth / Gomez / Raymond? The “Facepalm” Line?

    The main thing is, Gomez is a better bet than Tyler Bozak, and we don’t have to trade for him. So I am pro-Gomez. At $2M or less.

  • BrudnySeaby

    In re: cap space, by my calculation based on nhlnumbers, if you take the following 22 man roster, the Canucks have 3.032M in cap left.*

    Forwards: Sedin Sedin Burrows Booth Kesler Higgins Raymond Lapierre Hansen Weise Malhotra Kassian Ebbett
    Defense: Bieksa Hamhuis Edler Garrison Ballard Tanev Alberts
    Goalies: Luongo Schneider

    If you remove Ebbett (i.e. to replace him with Gomez) you have 3.632M in space to do that. I don’t see Gomez being worth more than 2M and if someone else wants to pay him more, let them.

    *Obviously they’ll have cap relief for Kesler to start the season, may not have Luongo’s 5.33 hit, and might also not have Booth’s 4.2, so there’s potentially more room than that.

  • Yep. Gomez and Redden were both stuck on the shelf. Habs and Rags didn’t want to play them to risk injury. An injured player can’t be bought out, and the transitional buyout period is literally right after the season is over. It’s such a small window they might miss it.

    So, basically those two are exceptional cases. A lot of people will talk about buying out a player like Keith Ballard, but they probably haven’t thought that one through.

  • Fred-65

    Gomez and Redding’s time has come and gone. Keep the Cap space for the deadline when you need some one.

    Side thought. I know the SEL ends way before the NHL, I wonder if Gillis might bring in Jensen