Scott Gomez won two Stanley Cups with the Devils, including one in his rookie year of 2000 (in which he also received the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year). He turned 20 that season. Now, at the age of 36, he is calling it a career.
The five-foot, eleven-inch, 200-pound centerman from Anchorage, Alaska, widely regarded as the best player to come out of that state (he even played for the ECHL’s Alaska Aces during the 2005 NHL lockout), was drafted by the Devils 27th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He spent two stints with the Devils, from 1999-2000 to 2006-07 and another season in 2014-15.
In between, he signed a big money free agent contract with the Rangers in 2007, alienating many Devils fans in the process, did not find success there, was traded to the Canadiens after two years, spent three seasons in a Montreal uniform and then essentially bounced around the league. He spent parts of seasons with the Sharks, Panthers, Blues and Senators. He finished the 2015-16 season playing in 13 games for Ottawa, notching one assist.
He never quite produced outside of the Devils’ system of that time, but he was still a great presence in the locker room for many teams, as many players have attested to his humor and ability to keep a room loose. He was a good veteran leader in his later seasons, helping teams like the Florida Panthers, who were very youth-oriented during his time there.
In addition to his NHL career, he represented the United States in the 2006 Olympics, as well as the 2005 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 and 1999 World Junior Championship.
He played in two NHL All-Star Games (2000 and 2008) and was named to the 1999-2000 NHL All-Rookie Team.
He finishes his career with 181 goals and 575 assists for 756 points in 1,079 games. He also racked up 132 penalty minutes. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, he played in 149 games, scoring 29 goals and 72 assists for 101 points and 95 penalty minutes. He won Cups in 2000 and 2003 with the Devils. The closest he would come to another Cup was 2010 when the Canadiens lost in the Eastern Conference Final to the Flyers.
Gomez has done some broadcasting work – which includes an infamous guest spot on a mid-day soap opera in the early 2000’s – and will likely pursue that route if he is to stay in the game, as he is one of the more charismatic players out there.
No matter what he does though, good luck to one of the bigger Devils stars of the early to mid-00’s. Retirement can be tough on a professional athlete, as he told sports writer Doyle Woody in an article in his hometown Alaska Dispatch News, “(T)his has been my life, It’s so weird to think I’m never going to play hockey again.”