When I wrote earlier this week that the Sharks should sign Scott Gomez following an accelerated compliance buyout by the Montreal Canadiens, I never actually expected them to consider doing so. But as of 10AM this morning, San Jose appears to be the clear favorite in the Gomez Sweepstakes, which is somehow an actual thing.
At least five teams were reportedly interested in the 33-year-old center after he officially hit the unrestricted free agent market Thursday. But with the Hurricanes, Coyotes and Devils dropping out of the hunt, Gomez seems to have narrowed his choice of destination down to either the Sharks or, potentially, the Anaheim Ducks.
Per Bob McKenzie, Gomez is currently in San Jose meeting with Doug Wilson, Todd McLellan and other members of the Sharks organization. Bruce "Malkin to the Kings" Garrioch reports the team is interested in offering Gomez a one-year, $700k contract which, needless to say, would be fantastic value if true. The key, apart from Gomez's desire to escape a hockey-crazed market, seems to be his relationship with the Sharks' new associate coach Larry Robinson. Gomez and Robinson have been close since the Alaska native broke into the league with the Devils, for whom Robinson was serving as assistant and later head coach, in 1999. Gomez apparently chose to wear #19 for the Rangers in honor of Robinson.
I've made my thoughts on the Sharks signing Gomez pretty clear. The evidence indicates he would be a substantial upgrade over Michal Handzus and a far better fit on a protected scoring line than 'Zus could ever hope to be. Gomez has never been the goal-scorer he was inexplicably derided for not being in Montreal but his high-level playmaking ability and effectiveness in the neutral zone should ensure the Sharks' third line is much better on both sides of the puck than they were last season. He would fit in snugly with T.J. Galiardi and Tommy Wingels and fill the Sharks' hole at center on their second-unit power play. If a pro-rated $700k salary and a one-year term is really all it's going to take, there's absolutely no reason for Wilson not to go through with a deal.
More on this story as #GomezWatch unfolds.