According to a story on NHL.com, former Devil Brian Gionta has retired after 16 seasons. The Rochester, New York-native will rejoin the Buffalo Sabres – of whom he was captain while playing for them from 2014-15 to 2016-17 – in an unspecified role.
Gionta, 39, was chosen 82nd overall in the third round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Devils out of Boston College. He joined the team in 2001-02 and won the 2003 Stanley Cup with the team. In 2005-06, he broke the Devils’ single-season goal scoring recorded with 48. He broke Pat Verbeek’s mark of 46 set in 1987-88.
He signed as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in 2009, where he also served as a rare American-born captain of the famed French-Canadian team. He played with the Habs from 2009-10 until 2013-14. He signed with Buffalo as a free agent in 2014, his hometown team.
He would sit out most of the 2017-18 season in order to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics with Team USA and signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins on February 25, 2018. He played in 20 regular season games for the Bruins last year, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points.
He also represented the United States in the 1999 World Juniors, playing six games and scoring six goals and five assists for 11 points over the tournament.
According to Hockey-Reference.com, his Devils career statistics saw him play in 473 games over his seven years with New Jersey. He notched 152 goals (including 48 on the power play and five shorthanded) and 160 helpers for 312 points total. He had 227 penalty minutes to go with all of that. He also finished with 30 game winning goals.
Playoffs-wise, he appeared in 113 total games, with 32 goals and 36 assists for 68 points. With the Devils, he appeared in 67 playoff games, netting 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points. He got into one playoff game, his final one, last season for Boston.
His career NHL regular season stats saw him appear in 1,026 games, scoring 291 goals and 304 assists for 595 points.
Gionta was quoted in the NHL.com article as saying: “I’m announcing my retirement today. Looking forward to spending more time with my family and also playing a small part in the organization. Looking forward to that next step of my career.” He also added, “Playing with my childhood team, the Sabres, was a highlight of my career.”
In the NHL.com article, Sabres star center Jack Eichel was quoted (via The Buffalo News) as saying, “He’s somebody I grew up watching and all of a sudden I’m sitting a few stalls away from him my first years in the NHL. That was cool. It’s an unbelievable career and I’m just happy I was able to be a part of it.”
Congratulations to Brian Gionta on a fantastic career and good luck to him in retirement in the Sabres’ front office.