Gionta of course, rode shotgun to newly acquired Canadiens center Scott Gomez for a few season in the Jersey swamps, notching 48 goals in 2005-06. GM Gainey is obviously hoping their chemistry is rekindled in Montreal.
The Canadiens fourth free agent acquisition of the day is a smurf at 5'7', 175 lbs. In 473 career games, he has notched 152-160-312 totals, adding another 19-21-40 in 67 playoff games.
It will be interesting to watch this Canadiens new soup to nuts lineup gel. Hopefully some familiar faces will be returning, but with each signing it is looking less and less unlikely.
Brian Gionta was born January 18, 1979 in Rochester, N.Y. The 3rd round choice, 82nd overall selection of the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Gionta is a graduate of the Boston College Screaming Eagles.
The diminutive forward from Rochester, N.Y. spent two seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with the Niagra Scenics capturing Metro Junior Player of the Year honours in 1996 before joining Boston College in 1997-98.
In his four seasons at BC, Gionta finished with 232 points (123 goals, 109 assists) in 164 games and was the recipient of numerous individual honours.
As a freshman with the Screaming Eagles, Gionta captured Hockey East Rookie of the Year honours, was a Hockey East Second Team All-Star and NCAA East Second Team All-American after finishing his spectacular rookie campaign as the nation's top-scoring freshman with 62 points (30 goals, 32 assists). In his sophomore season Gionta was an NCAA East First Team All-American, Hockey East First Team All-Star, and was one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
Coming off back to back seasons of 60-plus points, Gionta entered his junior year at BC and continued where he had left off finishing second in the nation in goals with 33 and earning Hockey East First Team All-Star honours and NCAA East First Team All-American honours and was a finalist once again for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award.
In his senior year with the Screaming Eagles, Gionta recorded his third 30-plus goal season and for the third consecutive year was Hockey East First Team All-Star, NCAA East First Team All-American and was the Hockey East Player of the Year.
On the international stage, Gionta is a two-time member of the US World Junior Team (1998-1999) and a three-time member of the US World Championship Team (2000-2001, 2005), and has represented the US at the 2006 Winter Olympics. The recipient of the Bob Johnson Award in 1999 in recognition of excellence in international ice hockey competition during a specific season, Gionta made his professional hockey debut in 2001-02, splitting his season with the Devils and their AHL affiliate in Albany. Despite a lack of size, Gionta became a regular with the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03 and played a key role in the team's successful quest of the Stanley Cup, contributing 9 playoff points.