Greatest New Jersey Devils player of all time: 12. Scott Gomez
There are few players who improved their reputation with the Devils fans like Scott Gomez. When he left the Devils to sign with their biggest rivals the New York Rangers, he became public enemy number one. He was Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk combined in terms of fanbase hate. Then, things fell apart in New York, went worse in Montreal, and he came back to New Jersey to rehabilitate his career. We’ll get back to that in a moment.
Gomez was a fantastic player from day one. He’s one of only two Devils players to win the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year (the other is Martin Brodeur; more on him later). The sensational rookie season (19 goals, 51 assists) led to a great playoff push. He had 10 points and two game-winning goals as the Devils made its way to their second Stanley Cup championship.
Gomez fit the Devils like a glove for the rest of his time in New Jersey. He only scored when he needed to score. He was one of the best setup men in the league. His 56 assists led the league in 2003-04. He broke out as a scorer in 2005-06 with 33 goals. Gomez was a first-line center and a third-line center rolled into one.
When Gomez came back to the Devils on a paid tryout in 2014, he earned a spot on the roster (eventually). He had 34 points in 58 games on what ended up being a not-very-good Devils team. That was the last game he played in a Devils uniform. He finished his career third in team history in assists and fifth in points. Those numbers deserve serious recognition.