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Monday, November 5, 2012

HabsAddict Mailbag: Scott Gomez's Production with the Montreal Canadiens

Scott Gomez - New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens
Hello Hab addicts.

Bored with the lockout?

Yeah, so are we. So, in an effort the generate content and discussion, we have decided to tackle some of the questions we hear from friends, Facebook and Twitter.

Today, myself and Louis Moustakas tackle a classic query: Scott Gomez's decline.

Mika Oehling @armchairhockey asks "Any explanations to Gomez and his 1 goal a season since he joined the Habs?"

Sean Lloyd: Thanks for the question Mika, and quite a doozy to kick off the HabsAddict mailbag.

Gomez is a playmaker, always has been. While it's impossible to ignore his lack of scoring, it's his vision and passing abilities that make him an NHL player.

My best guess as to why he doesn't bury more goals would be his reluctance to shoot. In 2011-12 he was tied for 15th — with Josh Gorges — on the team for shooting. Even Alexei Emelin managed more shots with 62.

Then there is the good old fashioned "pressure of Montreal" theory. With the New Jersey Devils he scored 116 goals in 548 games, or one tally every five contests. In two seasons with the New York Rangers he scored 32 times in 153 games, once again producing one goal every five games.

Since donning the Montreal Canadiens' jersey, his average has dipped to one goal every nine games, producing only 21 goals in 196 games.

Gomez will either need to direct more pucks towards the net or learn to handle the pressure, if not we can expect roughly nine goals out of him whenever hockey resumes.

Louis Moustakas: Mika, that a doozy indeed.

Sean is right, Scott Gomez is not a natural shooter or natural scorer. In fact, his 33 goal season with the New Jersey Devils has to be considered a huge anomaly.

Other than his extremely successful 2005-06 campaign, he never reached the 20 goal plateau at the professional level, not even while playing in the ECHL during the lockout.

Having said that, it is perplexing to see a player who has regularly produced 10-15 goals per year plummet so drastically.

Beyond the point of Scott Gomez not shooting frequently, his shot locations are not optimal. Especially in 2011-12, his attempts on net came from either the wings or afar. Hardly prime choices.

Just look at his first goal in over a year. Fabulous pass, but really, he is quite distant off the wing.


That, and it's not like his head and heart have looked in the game in recent years.

What do you think? What caused Scott Gomez's precipitous decline?

---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com

You can follow Sean on Twitter.

Louis is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He is also an occasional guest on CKCU's Red Zone program.

Find him on Twitter @LouisMoustakas



(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

4 comments:

Based on my observations during games, it looks like he is being mentally and physically lazy. It seems like whenever he gets the puck and builds a big head of steam skating through the neutral zone, he always slows down once he crosses into the offensive zone and peels off to the left. Even if he is not challenged by a defender, he seems to be waiting for his linemates to catch up so he can find them with a pass. This move is so predictable and so easily defended, it never works. Gomez needs to rediscover some of the creativity he used to have as well as the courage to skate to the net. Until he does that, he is just going through the motions to ride out his contract. You have to wonder where the man's pride is.

We all know Gomez is not a shooter/scorer, I think that no passer can succeed in a dump and chase style of hockey of Martin and Conneyworth. Plus Gomez always needed strong wingers to perform, which, so far hasn't been the case in Montreal. What I see as intriguing, is the fact that his micro stats(Corsi/Fenwick)does not jive with his low production, that is why I think that his low production is mostly due to the hockey system that was used in Montreal. In Martin's first year as coach, the system was just being implemented and not that effective and Gomez's production was not as bad as the following two years, when Martin system was in full gear. I do not want to defend Gomez, but i think he was a victim of Martin and Conneyworth's system, and believe we might see a different Gomez under Therrien, if he gets to play. It's funny to see that last season the Habs played over 500 with Gomez and under without, why would such a low producing forward make such a difference? Maybe he not as bad as we like to think, even though his production is.

I agree with Anonymous comment above. In addition, he mostly crosses the blue line on the right side close to the boards, this gives him only one option and that is to stop and turn towards center and wait for the trailer on the play.

He needs to start crossing the blue line more towards the center, that will give him more options. He also needs a winger that is faster than him and can drive to the net and wait for a pass or a rebound.

He is fast enough to go around defense men, yet he seems to be scared or lacks the confidence.

Montreal places too much emphasis on the forwards being responsible on defense. I believe if the Habs traded for Malkin they would turn him from a 50 to a 20 goal scorer.

I also believe that Gomez does not like playing in Montreal and is going through the motions.

@Anon1 I think his constant shift to the wing upon entering the offensive zone plays into the whole idea of his refusal to shoot. It could be seen as laziness but it seems that he would just rather wait for a winger and pass the buck..or in this case puck.

I agree with Layvack about the system, his style doesn't work with dump and chase, and he is pretty much the only player on the team other then Subban who brings the puck into the zone rather than dump it in. It's no surprise that he has nothing to do once in the zone because his wingers just don't expect the puck to be skated in. Gomez isn't nearly as bad as he's made out to be, he's just not worth $8 million.....that's a tough price to live up to.


As for Anon2's comment on him needing a speedy winger,I agree. If Gionta were to be healthy last season (Gomez too for that matter) I'm confident he would've produced more, but mostly in the assist column, he'll never light the lamp regularly.

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