The New York Islanders have hired Scott Gomez as an assistant coach, the team announced Tuesday. Gomez last appeared with the in the 2015-16 season with the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators and Hershey Bears of the AHL. After a 16-year career, however, the veteran forward retired from the NHL following the 2016 season and is now ready to rejoin the league in a different capacity.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 30, 2017
Gomez debuted in the NHL in the 1999-00 season after being drafted 27th overall in 1998 by the New Jersey Devils. The Anchorage, Alaska-native found success quickly with the Devils winning the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s best rookie, followed by a Stanley Cup in his first year with the team. Gomez went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Devils while posting the best point totals of his career during his time in the Garden State. Finishing his career with 1,079 games played, Gomez scored 181 goals and 756 points as well as 29 goals and 101 points in 149 postseason contests.
Following his time in New Jersey, Gomez found himself playing with the New York Rangers followed by the Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, a return to the Devils, the St. Louis Blues and finally the Ottawa Senators. It wasn’t always easy for Gomez who was often the target of ridicule during his time in Montreal. Playing on a sizable contract that paid the veteran upwards of $7 million per season, Gomez went over a calendar year between scoring goals. Despite this, Gomez powered through the criticism and did his best to play his game and help his teammates.
Gomez also had a successful international career, representing the United States at the 1998 and 1999 World Junior Championships, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey as well as the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin during the prime of his career.
Scott Gomez Brings Character
While Gomez is a veteran of 16 NHL seasons and a multi-time Stanley Cup Champion, his biggest addition to any franchise is always his character. Similar to the St. Louis Blues signing of Steve Ott as an assistance coach on May 25, Gomez was brought into the Islanders in large part due to his character traits coupled with his vast knowledge of the game. Islanders’ head coach Doug Weight said as much Tuesday when talking about the hiring of Gomez:
Scott brings an immense amount of hockey knowledge to our coaching staff. His offensive instincts, expertise on the power-play and the way he could control the game with his skating and smarts, are all key elements that we want implemented into our group. He played in the league as recently as the 2015-16 season so he can relate to today’s NHL player in an effort to bring out the best in each member of the team.
Given how recently Gomez played in the NHL and the respect he earned over the course of his career, it should be safe to assume that he’ll immediately fit into the locker room and be well respected among the players. With a new chapter set to get under way, Gomez will look to bring some of his Stanley Cup success from his early years as a player to his early years as a coach.