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On Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks signed the recently bought out Scott Gomez to a one year contract worth $700,000. This comes after the Montreal Canadiens bought him out of the last two years of his 7-year $51.5-million dollar contract. When the lockout ended, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told Gomez not to report to training camp, and that the team would buy him out this summer. This did not happen however, as the new CBA was modified so that teams could use one of their two buyouts through the 2013-14 before the current season starts. The Canadiens then bought out Gomez, making him a free agent, and here we are today: Gomez is a member of the San Jose Sharks.

As soon as the announcement of Gomez's signing was made, people began to wonder: can Scott Gomez return to being to 80+ point player that he was with the New Jersey Devils? Probably not, but he can improve upon his horrific statistics with the Canadiens. Last season, Gomez scored two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 38 games, which are unacceptable numbers for a team's highest paid player.

An advantage for Gomez going into this season is that he is no longer his team's highest paid player, so he will not be expected to play like it. This will, hopefully for Gomez, take some of the pressure off his back. When he was traded to Montreal from the New York Rangers, he was immediately ridiculed by the fans for underachieving. At this point in Gomez's career, it isn't even possible for him to underachieve; that's how bad his career in Montreal was. He can only go up from there.

To start off his tenure with the San Jose Sharks, Gomez will likely center either the third or fourth line, which is understandable, because he is no longer considered a top-six forward. However, as time goes on, it is possible that Gomez will see action on either the first or second line, depending on his performance and team injuries. Let's remember, Gomez was once considered to be one of the elite playmakers in the NHL. If given the right opportunity, he can still be a solid player. He isn't elite anymore, but he certainly is not a bad hockey player. He was the 2000 Calder Trophy winner (given to the rookie of the year), and was a key member of the New Jersey Devils in their Stanley Cup championship wins in 2000 and 2003. Gomez has winning experience, which can be very useful to the Sharks, who have been disappointing in the playoffs for the past few seasons. 

Gomez is likely to debut for the Sharks on Saturday against the Avalanche, so it will be interesting to see what role he plays for the team and how well he performs in that role. I'm expecting Scott Gomez to prove his doubters wrong this season, and show that he still belongs in the NHL.

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