The New Jersey Devils signed center Scott Gomez on Monday, the team announced.
Gomez, who will turn 35 this month, had been practicing with the team all season as an unsigned player. After signing a contract Sunday night, Gomez was playing with Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr at practice on Monday. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Gomez will likely make his debut Tuesday night at Pittsburgh, The Record's Tom Gulitti reports.
“The coach has seen him in practice enough that he knows (him),” Lamoriello said. “And it’s going to be the situation with the numbers. Now, we’re down, so he might have to play.”
Lamoriello said he signed Gomez now, “because of the center ice situation … with a couple of these injuries.”
The Devils currently have no healthy forwards -- centers Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac and left wings Martin Havlat and Ryane Clowe are all dealing with injuries. The team also placed top-line center Travis Zajac on injured reserve on Monday, retroactive to Nov. 28.
Gomez last played for the Devils in 2006-07 before signing a seven-year, $51.5 million free-agent contract with the New York Rangers.
Gomez was drafted by the Devils in 1998 and joined the team the following season and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. In 548 regular-season games with the Devils, Gomez has 116 goals and 334 assists. Over his 14-year career, Gomez has played in 987 games, scoring 173 goals with 540 assists.
- Mike Fiammetta