Canadiens cut ties with Anchorage's Scott Gomez

Scott Gomez will play for the Aces this year.
Marc Lester
Scott Gomez talks with Joey Crabb, left, during a break. The Alaska Aces opened their training camp Friday morning, September 28, 2012. Three NHL players with roots in Anchorage joined the team for camp. Scott Gomez (Montreal Canadiens), Nate Thompson (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Joey Crabb (Washington Capitals) are currently locked out of NHL play. Crabb has signed a one-year deal with the Aces and Thompson, who practiced under a professional tryout agreement Friday, said he will sign a one-year deal with the team. Gomez, who played for the Aces during the NHL lockout in 2004-05, is only practicing with the team under a PTO and has said he does not intend to play for the Aces again.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Scott Gomez looks to pass in his Alaska Aces debut during second-period action against Colorado Wednesday evening Nov. 14, 2012 at Sullivan Arena. Gomez is among the Aces' NHL players expected to soon return to their teams.
Erik Hill

Everyone paying attention knew Montreal Canadiens center Scott Gomez of Anchorage was a prime candidate to have his contract bought out at the end of the season, but his NHL club went beyond that Sunday, announcing it was sending Gomez home for the season -- Montreal still will have to pay his $5.5 million salary -- and intends to buy out his deal.

According to various reports, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told Gomez the news Sunday morning, when NHL teams opened their abbreviated training camps.

Bergevin also said Gomez will not be allowed to play for any other teams -- that appears to rule out a return to the Alaska Aces, who Gomez played for prior to the end of the lockout -- because Montreal does not want to risk a long-term injury that would complicate the buyout scenario. Bergevin said he couldn't find an NHL team willing to trade for Gomez, who is in the sixth year of a seven-year, $51.5 million contract originally signed with the New York Rangers.

According to, buying out Gomez will cost the Canadiens $3 million.

Gomez, 33, is a 12-year NHL veteran and Alaska's most decorated player. He was the NHL Rookie of the Year in 1999-2000, when he won the first of two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils.

In 902 NHL regular-season games, he earned 169-517--686 totals. In 140 playoff games, he racked 29-70--99 totals.

But his three seasons in Montreal were unproductive by his standards -- 21-87--108 totals in 196 games, and 2-9--11 in 38 games during an injury-riddled 2011-12 season.