One of the bigger stories heading into the weekend, when we will finally see real hockey, is the news of the accelerated buyouts that will soon hit two of the league’s former big names: Scott Gomez and Wade Redden.
In the new collective bargaining agreement, each team was originally allowed two buyouts beginning after the season. That has already been amended, and each team will now be able to use one before the season begins on Saturday, if they so choose. It’s a no-brainer that they’ll be used on the likes of Gomez and Redden almost immediately.
Once Gomez becomes a free agent, quite a few teams will likely inquire and attempt to sign him to the league minimum. One of those teams will very likely be the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s no secret that the Hawks lack center depth. Outside of Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, and Marcus Kruger, there are no sure-fire options for them in the middle. They’re essentially holding tryouts for everyone to play some center at this point, or at least it seems like it.
Which is why Gomez actually makes perfect sense. He’s earned himself a poor reputation after an incredible failure to live up to a massive contract. But that slate will be wiped clean once he is bought out. And if he is signed to a six figure deal, he could be a steal for whichever team signs him.
The Hawks need a checking line center. Bolland is moving up to the second line, and Andrew Shaw looks like the only other option on the third line. The team could save themselves a bit of a headache and sign Gomez for that spot, while leaving Shaw out on the wing where he had success last season.
Gomez is still a very talented player, whose contract completely tarnished his reputation. He’s not the type of player who’s going to put up 70 or 80 points anymore, by a longshot, but he could be a very nice addition on the cheap for the Blackhawks, or whichever team ends up signing him.