With the start of training camp set to begin within the next few weeks, National Hockey League general managers have begun their search to bolster the talent level for their hockey clubs. In an effort to increase competition during camp, veteran centre Scott Gomez has been given a professional tryout by the St. Louis Blues, and right-winger Devin Setoguchi has agreed to a professional tryout by general manager Lou Lamoriello and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gomez, drafted 27th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, has played in the NHL since 1999. The Anchorage, Alaska native has spent time playing for the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadians, San Jose Sharks, and the Florida Panthers, in addition to the team he was drafted by, the New Jersey Devils. Last season, Lamoriello gave Gomez a chance to revive his career playing for New Jersey. Although Gomez was not offered a contract out of training camp with New Jersey, Gomez continued to practice with the team when they were home as a “taxi squad player”.
Following the injuries to Martin Havlat, Travis Zajac, and Adam Henrique, Scott signed a one year tw0 -way contract with the New Jersey Devils. The 5 ft 11 centre had a very impressive season playing for New Jersey; Scott tallied 7 goals and recorded 27 assists for a total of 34 points playing in 58 games for New Jersey last season. After the St. Louis Blues and general manager Doug Armstrong announced that forward Patrik Berglund will undergo shoulder surgery, which will sideline the Swedish centre for the next few months, the team announced that 35 year old centre Scott Gomez will be on the St. Louis Blue’s roster for training camp.
Although it remains to be seen whether or not Gomez makes the opening night roster for St. Louis, if Gomez shows off his impressive pure passing skills and serves as a veteran leader on and off the ice during training camp, it will be impossible for Doug Armstrong and assistant general manager Martin Brodeur to pass up on signing Scott.
Setoguchi, drafted 8th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, has played in the NHL since 2007. The 28 year old Alberta, Canada native has played for the Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, and Winnipeg Jets, in addition to the Sharks. In an attempt to revive his career in the National Hockey League, Setoguchi has accepted a professional tryout by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although Setoguchi recorded a career-high 31 goals with San Jose during the 2008-2009 NHL season, the veteran right-winger’s career has slipped over recent years.
Devin is noted for several off-ice issues which resulted in the lack of interest for him this past summer. As stated by Setoguchi himself, “I was in a tough position this year. I ended up going to rehab in April. Around the league, my rep over the last couple of years and my word (haven’t) meant much. I had gotten to the point when I had pretty much diminished any kind of merit in the league and no one really believed what I was saying.”
Although the only offer that Setoguchi received this offseason was to play for a contract in the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp, the 6 ft 1 right- winger is excited for the opportunity to return to playing in the National Hockey League. Setoguchi understands that “all the odds are stacked” against him, and that “there’s no guarantee of landing a roster spot”; Devin is eager to show off his impressive skills and thankful for being given the opportunity to do so in training camp for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Regardless of how Gomez and Setoguchi play during training camp, the St. Louis Blues and the Toronto Maple Leafs can only benefit from the addition of these seasoned hockey players in training camp.