The Montreal Canadiens will be heading into this abbreviated season without one Scott Gomez. General manager Marc Bergevin has sent the forward home for the season and will allow his club to buy out Gomez’s contract in the summer, clearing out a whopping $7.3 million in cap space for next year.
This scenario is known as a “compliance buyout” and is designed to help the Habs get in line for the reduced $64.3 million salary cap next year.
“We all know the rules, and we all know that next year the cap’s going down,” Bergevin said on Sunday. “We had to judge what was best for us to give us the space to be able to comply by those rules.”
For now, the Gomez cap hit remains on the payroll to the tune of about a $6,457,143 for this year. Gomez will go on waivers and will not take up a roster spot if he clears.
This season, the Habs will be able to line up nicely under the $70.2 million cap hit. Next year, though, the newly lowered cap (under the new CBA, of course) will give them some problems. And if Gomez played this season and injured himself, he would be ineligible for the aforediscussed compliance buyout and would force Bergevin into figuring out the cap situation another way.
“We didn’t want to be handcuffed by this situation,” Bergevin said, “or even be forced to trade some productive players just to get under the cap.”
Gomez originally arrived on the Canadiens thanks to former GM Bob Gainey. The deal went down in June of 2009 and saw Gomez sent to the Habs along with Michael Busto and Tom Pyatt in exchange for Christopher Higgins, Doug Janik, Ryan McDonagh, and Pavel Valentenko.
Gomez has 108 points in 196 regular season games in Montreal. He only has 21 goals and is a minus-23 overall. “His cap hit is $7.3 million,” Bergevin said. “If he’s your number one centre, you’re OK with that. The decision we made was based on his production the last two seasons.”
“Unfortunately, the personal side of the game is really hard when the business side takes over,” said captain Brian Gionta. “We’ll do whatever we can to support him. He’s a great guy. He’ll bounce back from it. But the first few days I’m sure will be a shock for him.”