The Boston Bruins have come to terms with veteran forward Brian Gionta on a one-year contract worth $700,000, the team announced Sunday. This news comes just a few short hours after the Bruins announced their blockbuster deal that saw a first-round pick, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and one of the team’s top prospects in Ryan Lindgren traded to the New York Rangers for Rick Nash.
Bruins sign Brian Gionta to one-year, one-way contract through 2017-18 season worth $700,000: https://t.co/Ui8jBkESFW
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 25, 2018
Gionta hasn’t played a game in the NHL this season but is coming off of an Olympic performance as the captain of the United States who were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Czech Republic.
The veteran has ties to Boston after spending four seasons at Boston College. In 164 games with the club, he went on to score a very impressive 123 goals and 232 points before making the jump to the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in his second season in the league.
Gionta Adds Leadership and Depth to the Bruins
Gionta’s best stint of his career came between the 2003-04 and 2010-11 seasons when he would score at least 20 goals in seven straight seasons, including 48 goals and 89 points in 82 games in 2005-06. It was an impressive run for the Rochester, New York-native, especially considering how undersized Gionta is at 5 foot 7 and 178 pounds.
A veteran of 1,006 NHL games, Gionta has spent time as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres in recent years. As for recent production, Gionta’s most recent game at the NHL level game in 2016-17 when he was the captain of the Buffalo Sabres. Playing in all 82 games for the Sabres, Gionta would score 15 goals and 35 points before his contract expired at the end of the season.
Gionta won’t be expected to be a big contributor for the Bruins this season, but he has the potential to contribute in a depth role as the team’s 13th forward. He’s also played in 112 career postseason contests, giving him a fairly good perspective on what it takes to play beyond the regular season.
Leadership is always nice to have, but it may not have been necessary for the Bruins given their core of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and David Krejci. Still, if Gionta can add some depth scoring to the Bruins should an injury occur to someone in their bottom-six, it’s a move that came with zero risks and could prove to be a good under-the-radar signing at the end of the day.
Bruins Invest Very Little in Gionta Signing
At the same time, roster spots are important and the Bruins are ultimately investing a spot in a 39-year-old who hasn’t played an NHL game in nearly a year. At the same time, he was fairly insignificant for the United States at the Olympics as far as point production went as well. Whether he makes an impact or not with the Bruins is yet to be determined. At the very least, there is no down-side in signing Gionta in hopes that he still has something left in the tank.
If the Bruins would have traded assets to acquire someone like Gionta, or if the deal would have lasted longer than the remainder of the 2017-18 season, it’s reasonable to have a gripe with this decision. The Bruins didn’t invest anything other than their roster spot, however, and the decision should be taken with a grain of salt. At least until the Bruins get a chance to see how the veteran forward performs.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.