BUFFALO – Amid rumors that Brian Gionta might be linked to Boston ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, the Bruins have signed the 39-year-old former Cup champion to a one-year deal coming off his Olympic stint with Team USA in PyeongChang. Gionta agreed to a one-year, one-way deal with the Bruins for $700,000, which makes much more sense as a 13th forward/depth piece after the Bruins also finalized their blockbuster trade for Rick Nash with the New York Rangers.
The 5-foot-7, 178-pound Gionta had 15 goals and 35 points for the Buffalo Sabres last season, but had sat out all of this year with the chance to compete in the Olympics this past month before hooking on with an NHL team for the final few months of the season. The former Boston College standout will certainly add an experienced, veteran option for the Bruins should some of their younger wingers hit any kind of a competitive wall down the stretch.
"Depth and veteran leadership and a player that's highly motivated,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, when asked what Gionta brings to the table. “He waited to see what clubs might have been in a position to be in the playoff race and we hope we can continue to be one those clubs and he's going to add to that."
What isn’t expected is that Gionta will be a regular, every day member of the Bruins lineup unless injuries or underperformance creep into players’ games in the final few months of the season, or into the playoffs. Instead the Bruins will be bringing on a former captain with the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres that’s won a Stanley Cup on his NHL resume, and has posted 32 goals and 68 points in 112 career playoff games during his 1,000 plus career NHL games.
Gionta wasn’t available to play with the Bruins for Sunday’s late afternoon tilt against the Buffalo Sabres, but will instead get worked into the Black and Gold mix when the Bruins resume practicing Tuesday in Boston.