It sure looks like the career of Josh Gorges in the National Hockey League is coming to an end. The 33-year-old defenseman, who played the last four seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, may have played his last NHL game and be forced to hang his skates.
Gorges is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st: his six year, $23.4 million contract expired at the end of the 2017-18 season. He admitted he needs some time to think and to consider what's next for him. Here's what he told Buffalo Hockey Beat reporter Bill Hoppe, earlier this week:
Going through it and talking with the coaches the little bits I did, you understand what they’re trying to do,” he said. “But at certain times, I think I can still play and I think I can still do things to help this team be successful... You’re in a tough situation. You don’t want to be walking around the rink moping and feeling sorry for yourself. Your teammates don’t need to see that. … You try to come and do the best you can and keep a smile on your face and go about your day. But it wasn’t easy.”
Back in February, TSN insider Darren Dreger reported that the Buffalo Sabres may try to trade the veteran blueliner to a Cup contender who could be willing to add depth and experience to their lineup. He said that the St. Louis Blues was a possible destination for him, just like the Winnipeg Jets, who have reportedly inquired about him to land help on the blue line.
"I know there's been interest. Look at a team like St. Louis for example. They might be looking for a depth defenseman, someone that can give them honest minutes. St. Louis is a cap team, so maybe even half the cap hit is a problem, but maybe there's another piece that can be thrown in to soften it. Winnipeg is another team that's kicked tires, and there could be others."
These possible transactions obviously didn't work, as Gorges ended up finishing the season with Buffalo. He only played a grand total of six games after the trade deadline: four in March, and two in April. We could also read on buffalohocketbeat.com that "Gorges hadn’t been a healthy scratch in about 11 years. At one point, he sat out nine of 11 games. His ice time dropped from 18 minutes, 27 seconds an outing last season to just below 15 minutes."
Gorges still hopes he can sign a new deal for next season, just so he can have a shot at the Stanley Cup:
“There’s one thing that’s left undone, and that’s winning it all,” he said. “It would be hard to say that I don’t want to go back and have a chance at that. It’s something you’ve dreamed about since you were a kid, so that fire to win that is still there. So we’ll wait and see what summer brings.”
He played a total of 783 NHL games between 2005 and 2018. He recorded a total of 124 points and 404 penalty minutes with the San Jose Sharks, the Montreal Canadiens and the Sabres.