The road back into the NHL starts tonight for Scott Gomez as he enters his first game with the New Jersey Devils when they square off against the Philadelphia Flyers in tonight’s preseason game at Wells Fargo.
According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, the Devils center who is with the team on a PTO, will play between Reid Boucher and Mike Sislo on New Jersey’s second line.
Gomez, 34, will be looking to prove he can still be an asset to the team he won two Stanley Cups with in 2000 and 2003, despite what his recent track record might say. Since leaving the Devils in 2007 for a more appealing deal with the New York Rangers, Gomez has found himself on a rough path including a trade and buyout in Montreal and two short stints with both the San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers.
“When I played at the end of last season I thought, no way am I done. I talked to Lou [Lamoriello] and told him I can still play,” Gomez told NJ Advance Media earlier this week. “ I haven’t burned this way in years. I Haven’t played (regularly) in a while, so I’m fresh. And people think I’m older than I am because I’ve been in the league so long.”
In his last 123 NHL games, Gomez has just six goals.
Also making his debut with the Devils tonight is 32-year-old Mike Cammalleri. In need of an offensive boost, the Devils signed the veteran winger to a five-year, $25 million deal on July 1 and expect him to play top-line minutes with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr. While the pressure is on Gomez and not Cammalleri, the eyes will still weigh heavily on the Devils new first line wing, who was brought in to help end the two-year slump of not making the postseason. Gomez is working for a contract, Cammalleri just has to play up to his.
Cammalleri spent the last three seasons in the Western Conference playing for the Calgary Flames and is coming out a 45 point season where he had 26 goals, one more than Adam Henrique who led the Devils with 25.
Here are the expected line combinations for tonight’s game: Mike Cammalleri- Travis Zajac- Jaromir Jagr; Reid Boucher- Scott Gomez- Mike Sislo; Tuomo Ruutu- Jacob Josefson- Damien Brunner; Ryan Carter- Stephen Gionta- Steve Bernier.
Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlicky, Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, Peter Harrold, Tomas Kaberle and Reece Scarlett will play in front of Cory Schneider. Scott Wedgewood will backup the Devils’ starting goaltender, who is expected to play the full 60-minutes.
Steve Mason will get the start in goal for the Flyers.