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Montreal lands Gomez in swap with New York

THE Montreal Canadiens acquired Scott Gomez, and his sizeable contract, from the New York Rangers in a seven-player trade on Tuesday.

With the free-agent signing window to open late yesterday, Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey got an early jump on the competition landing the play-making center he had been seeking.

Gomez will earn US$8 million next season.

The Canadiens also received forward Tom Pyatt and defenseman Michael Busto from New York while sending forward Christopher Higgins and defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik to the Rangers.

"We are extremely pleased to have acquired an impact centerman in Scott Gomez," Gainey said on the Canadiens Website. "He is an outstanding playmaker and an excellent skater.

"Having won the Stanley Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, he brings a lot of playoff experience to our team."

He spent seven seasons in New Jersey winning two Stanley Cups before signing a seven-year contract as an unrestricted free agent with the Rangers two years ago.

He has scored 148 goals and accumulated 578 points over nine seasons, where he has missed just 32 games because of injury over that period.

Higgins, selected by the Canadiens 14th overall in the 2002 draft, struggled last season scoring just 12 goals and 23 points after suffering an injury.

Meanwhile, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has signed a multiyear deal with the Calgary Flames, the team said on Tuesday.

"Jay is one of the most complete defenseman in the game, and we are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will make him an important component of the Calgary Flames success," Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter said on the team's Website.

Bouwmeester played for Florida last season.


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