39-year old Brian Gionta didn’t want to uproot his family and chase a contract somewhere around the NHL last offseason, and instead pursued another Olympic medal as captain of Team USA. Now, as Gionta tries to bounce back after an early upset in the tournament, his agent is still working the phones for his next opportunity. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) spoke with agent Steve Bartlett about Gionta’s future, and it seems promising.
…I think he’ll have a landing spot when all is said and done. We’re optimistic. I’ll continue to have discussions with interested teams, but right now our list is getting pretty short as far as what we think is a good fit for him and vice-versa.
While LeBrun can’t pry out who the interested teams may be, it’s no surprise that there will be a landing spot for Gionta. Despite his age, Gionta is coming off a solid season in Buffalo in which he scored 15 goals and 35 points. That level of production has never escaped the undersized winger, and it could come in handy down the stretch for a playoff-bound team. Gionta is revered as an excellent leader around the league, and comes with 112 games of playoff experience.
Though he likely won’t play a top-six role wherever he goes, what better player to add to your fourth-line mix than a proven leader that can play in all different situations. LeBrun speculates on a fit in Tampa Bay (which is not one of the teams that has reached out, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times) and Boston, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see any playoff hopeful add Gionta. He’ll have to sign before the February 26th trade deadline to be eligible for the postseason, but the gold medal game is luckily just a day before that.