The captain wants to stay. That’s what Brian Gionta is telling the Buffalo Sabres and their fans, as he plays through the final year of his current contract. Bill Hoppe of the Buffalo Hockey Beat published a piece today that quotes Gionta reiterating his hope to stay a Sabre through the end of the season and beyond if they’ll have him.
I’ve made my position pretty clear. I’d like to stay here. I’d like to be here going on in the future. I want to see this thing through.
Gionta isn’t the player that scored 48 goals and 89 points in 2005-06, but he is still a reliable winger and huge leadership presence among a young team building for the future. As the reins are handed over to teenage phenoms and 20-something stars, Gionta could still be a positive influence even at the age of 38. As his $4.25MM contract expires this season, perhaps the Sabres will look to bring him back on a shorter, much less expensive deal in the summer.
- The Sabres in general will be involved in rumors right up to the deadline tomorrow, as Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson are two of the most talked about names left among defensemen. Joe Yerdon of NHL.com reports that the entire lineup including goaltenders is a game-time decision for the Sabres tonight. With the team struggling to find the success of their contemporaries, it’s very likely that they sell off some expiring assets in order to help facilitate the ongoing rebuild. Though the team thought it may be coming out of it this summer, it looks like another bottom-ten finish for the Sabres is on the horizon.
- Brian Boyle will make his debut in the Maple Leafs lineup tonight and he’s bringing help with him. Both Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak are expected to play, meaning that there was no longer room for Frederik Gauthier on the roster. The big centerman was sent to the Marlies when the Leafs activated Marner off injured reserve.