Within minutes of one another, the San Jose Sharks signed two forwards to one-year contracts Wednesday, January 23. As per team policy, financial details were not released. However, several sources including Kevin Kurz of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area via Twitter have the contract for Scott Gomez at $700,000.
Pro-rated to the 46 games remaining, that equates to a $398,682.93 investment with the potential of helping win a massive silver trophy. The Stanley Cup also has the richest history in any sport, making it all the more special. If Gomez can recapture any of the skill that landed him two All-Star appearances, he can put a scoring line talent on the third line to give the Sharks the secondary scoring needed to hoist the holy grail of hockey.
It is also quite possible that he will offer no upgrade over the forwards he would replace. James Sheppard was impressive in 8:10 on the ice Tuesday night even though he registered just one shot and one hit.
Even then, he must be at least as good as top scratched forward, Frazer McLaren. He was invisible in about seven minutes in the season opener, and has just six points in 40 NHL games over four seasons. His role on the team is too similar to line mate Adam Burish, who is a much better player.
Sharks coaches got a good long look at Gomez in practice. If he was not at least as good as McLaren, there is no reason they would have signed the unrestricted free agent. He has always been a good defender, including as a Stanley Cup champion penalty killer with Larry Robinson; that apparently remains a vulnerability after two games (62.5 percent).
And it is not like he was not worth anything last season. What he was not worth was the $7.5 million salary he got in 2011-12. But his 11 points in 38 games was a higher pace than five current starting Sharks forwards. His hits, blocks and faceoff differential per game were all still better than Martin Havlat's.
Gomez retained the respect of his Montreal Canadiens teammates. He would certainly receive enough playing time to not become a dressing room issue. His depth would be useful because the 13th forward gets a lot of ice time.
While there have been no reports about his amount nor even whether it is one- or two-way, much can be assumed about the one-year deal signed by Tim Kennedy. If the AHL All-Star was expected to be able to compete at the NHL level, he would have been signed in time for training camp. Chances are this is a two-way deal that pays near the minimum even if he does play in the NHL, nor should he wind up in San Jose this season now that Gomez was signed.
Kennedy turns 27 in April and is thus unlikely to develop much beyond the 10-goal scorer he was as a rookie in his only full season (2009-10). He has just 33 games at the NHL level since, with a goal and two assists.