The New York Islanders hired former NHL veteran Scott Gomez as an assistant coach on May 30.
The Islanders have three coaches who all have 1,000 games in the NHL under their belts—head coach Doug Weight, assistant coach Luke Richardson and now Gomez. Veteran presence is great for the blue and orange, but experience on the ice can only go so far compared to time behind the bench. But one can argue, what better fit for a coaching position than those who were out there and sacrificing everything on the ice? Everybody has to start a new venture sometime.
The 37-year-old Gomez played 16 seasons, 1,079 games and won the Stanley Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils. He faced the Islanders many times in his career. Gomez, like Richardson, will be a welcome addition to the bench starting this upcoming season.
Assisting the Power Play
In his earlier years, Gomez was a playmaker with the Devils, and a force to reckon with on the power play. In his 16 seasons, Gomez compiled 255 power play points. Of his 123 goals, 28 of them came on the power play.
With his expertise in a man-up situation, he will hopefully reboot a lackluster Islanders power play unit. This past season, the Islanders ranked third-to-last in the NHL in power play percentage with a miniscule 14.9 percent. Someone who was out on the ice On the man-advantage can benefit the Islanders immensely, but now Gomez must translate his experience to formulate the right strategy.
With a rebuild of forces behind the bench, the Islanders are ensuring they do not fall one point away from a playoff spot this upcoming season. The Maple Leafs took the second and final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Gomez Will Learn from Weight & Richardson
Many former NHL players have had success behind the bench.
With Gomez’s immense hockey knowledge, the longtime veteran will be able to mentor the Islanders’ young players, such as Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier and Mat Barzal, if he makes the opening night roster.
Between Weight and Gomez having won the Stanley Cup a combined three times, both can provide the motivation the team needs to make a deep playoff run, ensuring that falling short will be a thing of the past. The blue and orange failed to make the playoffs seven out of the last 10 seasons. That is unacceptable for a team with such young talent. The start of a consistent, competitive and playoff-bound team every season starts with the management and coaching staff.
Fellow assistant coach Richardson, who was hired by the Islanders on May 18, played as a defenseman in the NHL for 21 seasons. Richardson is an established force behind the bench, who uses his knowledge to solidify the blue line.
During his three seasons as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, the Senators went 117-103-26. He then proceeded to become a head coach with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL. Richardson will be able to guide Gomez and help him adjust in his first season.
With the right working parts in place, the bench will be upgraded with the personnel the players can relate to. With communication effortless on and off the ice, the Islanders will be a competitive force right out of the gate in October. Learning new strategies and coaches learning how to get the best out of their players will take time, but once that clicks, the blue and orange will be rolling.