Scott Gomez has played his last game in a Montreal Canadiens sweater.
Habs general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Sunday at the opening of the team’s training camp that Gomez will not take part in the 2013 season and that they would buy out the remaining year on his contract after this season.
The contract — which carries a $7.3 million US cap hit— will count againt the Canadiens’ salary cap this season, but Gomez will not play because the team doesn’t want to risk him getting hurt.
An injury would prevent the team from buying Gomez out next year.
“I have nothing against Scott Gomez,” Bergevin said. “It was the best thing for the future of the team.”
As per the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement, the cap will drop $10 million in 2013-14, but teams are allowed two buyouts to help fit under the cap.
Montreal will pay the centre a pro-rated $5.5 million not to play with the club in this lockout-shortened campaign before the final year buy-out, which will cost $4.5 million next season.
Gomez had a disappointing 2011-12, scoring only two goals and adding nine assists in 38 games.
“He was very professional,” Bergevin said. “He understands the situation.”
His contract, signed with the New York Rangers in 2007, was a front-end loaded deal that Montreal inherited when they traded for Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto with the Rangers in the summer of 2009.
New York received defenceman Ryan McDonagh, Chris Higgins and Pavel Valentenko.