Veteran forward Scott Gomez is coming back to where his NHL career began. Just like he did after he was selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, he will be heading to New Jersey for training camp just hoping to crack the Devils’ roster.
The New Jersey Devils announced Thursday that the 34-year-old Gomez will attend their training camp on a tryout basis. He played the first seven seasons of his career with the Devils, winning the Stanley Cup in both 2000 and 2003.
“I had some other teams call, but we went to [Devils General Manager] Lou [Lamoriello] and I just said, 'Give me the opportunity to make the team,’'’ Gomez told Northjersey.com on Wednesday. “We talked, obviously and he wanted to know where I was at and I just said, 'I want to come back.' "
"And he gave me the tryout and now it’s my job to make him keep me."
Gomez spent last season with the Florida Panthers, scoring just two goals and 12 points in 46 games. In 987 career NHL games with the Devils, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks and the Panthers; Gomez has 173 goals and 713 points.
Gomez had his best offensive seasons with New Jersey, averaging 67 points per season during his seven seasons with the Devils. He left the Devils in 2007, signing a massive seven-year contract worth $51.5 million with the rival Rangers.
The Devils may also be looking to add to their large contingency of Czech-born players, as they have also had conversations with veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle about attending camp on a tryout.
“He has talked to us about a tryout,” Lamoriello said of Kaberle. “That has not been officially confirmed yet, but he has talked to us.”
Kaberle spent last season with HC Kladno (which is owned by current Devil Jaromir Jagr) of the Czech professional league, scoring 24 points in 48 games. In 984 career NHL games, he has 563 points. The 36-year-old Kaberle won a Stanley Cup in 2011, as a member of the Boston Bruins.