38-Year-Old Right Wing – Buffalo Sabres
Brian Gionta Contract Information:
Signed to a three-year, $12.75 million contract by the Sabres in July 2014.
Gionta managed a power-play goal and an assist in Sunday's 4-3 road loss to the Penguins.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
At 36 years old, Gionta is clearly entering the twilight of his career. But the diminutive winger still has gas in the proverbial tank, and the influx of talent to his Sabres squad could just give him the high-octane jolt he needs to remain fantasy relevant. He finished last season with a decent 35 points in 69 games, with 16 of those coming in the final 14 contests. Gionta wonít finish like that again, but playing within the Sabresí top six and alongside either Ryan OíReilly or Jack Eichel could allow him to give his fantasy owners another 35- or 40-point season. But should Gionta falter again early on, he could be passed up on the depth chart by youngster Johan Larsson, so keep a finger on the wire just in case.
The 35-year-old is seeing his scoring touch fade season after season, but his speed and quick release still suggests the ability to score 20 goals. The Sabres donít have many reliable wingers to speak of, which means Gionta will most likely play on either of the top two lines to bring some stability to the lineup. Giontaís best days are clearly behind him and in Buffalo he will serve in a veteran leadership role rather than be an offensive lynchpin.
Gionta rebounded from an injury-shortened 2011-12 to score 14 goals and 12 assists in 48 games for Montreal last season. He's entering the final year of his contract and, at 34, his skills are starting to diminish. And there are some young guys on the roster that have earned more ice time. Walking hand-in-hand with age is health. For the second straight season, Gionta underwent surgery on his biceps. He's expected to be ready for the start of the season. Gionta will have a spot on one of the top two lines, but don't be surprised if he's losing minutes to Alex Galchenyuk before long.
Gionta missed more than half of the 2011-12 season after he underwent surgery to repair a torn biceps. A return to full health is expected and he'll skate as the second line right wing alongside center Tomas Plekanec and a to-be-determined left winger. You can typically pencil in Gionta for a 20-20 campaign, but he's approaching his 34-year-old season and we always worry about injuries to smaller-stature guys like Gionta, especially ones that like to initiate contact the way Gionta does.
The 48 goals Gionta pocketed in 2005-06 may be an outlier, but the Habs' captain has been an automatic 20-goal guy for seven straight seasons. He led Montreal for a second straight season with 29 goals in 2010-11, though it was largely considered a sub-par year for Gionta. There's a notion out there that Gionta was held down by the poor play of linemate Scott Gomez, and the two will likely remain on the same line this coming season. For a small player, he plays with some grit and isn't afraid to put his body in the high-traffic areas. With a full season of Max Pacioretty as a scoring threat on the left wing and an elevation in Gomez' play, Gionta could break the 30-goal mark.
Gionta had a very impressive 28 goals but a very disappointing 46 points in only 61 games last season. After proving to be very durable the previous few seasons, Gionta missed 21 games with a broken bone in his foot. With Scott Gomez centering his line and feeding him the puck, look for Gionta to have great luck again scoring goals and if he remains healthy he could end up with 30-plus tallies.
There are a lot of expectations for Gionta, who is coming off his most productive season since 2005-06. In New Jersey last season, he had 60 points with 20 goals and 40 assists. His 60 points would have been third among the Canadiens last season. The speedster is a main addition to the club who was brought in to bolster the scoring lost with the departures of Koivu, Kovalev and Tanguay. He has proven to be durable, having missed just five games in the past three seasons.
Gionta's first season without Scott Gomez went as expected. His 48-goal campaign in 2005-06 appears to be an aberration. Last season, Gionta scattered 22 goals over all 82 games with just eight on the power play. He's still one of the team's top offensive options, but don't expect any more than 60 points this season.
Gionta's first season without Scott Gomez went as expected. His 48-goal campaign in 2005-06 appears to be an aberation. Last season Gionta scattered 22 goals over all 82 games with just eight on the power play. He's still one of the team's top offensive options, but don't expect any more than 60 points at the most.
The scrappy, but undersized winger, scored 20 goals while skating on the first line, but his potential is limited to whom he skates with. He could see some power play time, but 20 goals probably is his ceiling.