BROSSARD, Quebec — The Canadiens sent Scott Gomez home for the season.
General manager Marc Bergevin said at the opening of training camp Sunday that he will buy out the center's contract next summer to remove his team-high $7.3 million salary cap hit from the books. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the cap will drop by about $10 million next season, but teams will be allowed two "amnesty" buyouts to help reach the cap.
However, if a player is injured, he cannot be bought out. Bergevin said it was safest for Montreal that Gomez not play this season.
"I have nothing against Scott Gomez," he said. "It was the best thing for the future of the team."
Gomez, 33, was limited to 38 games last season because of injuries and had two goals and nine assists.
KOVALCHUK ON WAY BACK: Devils leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk will be back in the United States on Tuesday and practice with the Eastern Conference champions Wednesday, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said. Kovalchuk played in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg during the lockout and participated in the KHL All-Star game Sunday. While he could not give "official" permission to play in the game, Lamoriello said he was okay with it.
SIGNINGS: Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto signed a two-year, $5.1 million contract extension, ending his restricted free agency. … The Canucks gave forward Cam Barker, the No. 3 overall pick by Chicago in 2004, a one-year deal for $700,000, espn.com reported. … Sabres center Jochen Hecht signed a one-year deal; TSN reported that it was worth $1 million.
HURRICANES: The team got forward Kevin Westgarth from Los Angeles for forward Anthony Stewart and two draft picks, and sent goalie Brian Boucher and minor-league defenseman Mark Alt to Philadelphia for minor-league center Luke Pither. Carolina also signed goalie Dan Ellis to a one-year deal worth a prorated $650,000 this season.