WASHINGTON -- Add another player watch prior to Monday's trade deadline: The signing of former Sabres captain Brian Gionta back in the NHL after the conclusion of the Pyeongchang Olympics. The emerging favorite seems to be the Boston Bruins.
Gionta, 39, has made it clear he wants to sign with a contender in the Eastern Conference and multiple outlets today are reporting that the Bruins have the lead for his services. His old team, the New Jersey Devils, are believed to be in the mix and another possibility could be the Toronto Maple Leafs because of the ties to current general manager and former New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello.
Gionta, who played collegiately at Boston College, served as Team USA's captain but struggled in the Olympics. He did not have a point and posted a minus-4 rating in the five games. He has played just one professional game this season, a contest with the Rochester Amerks prior to heading to Korea. Gionta worked out with the Amerks much of this season in preparation for his trip overseas.
Gionta had 15 goals and 20 assists for the Sabres last season. Oddly enough, Buffalo hosts the Bruins Sunday at 5 in KeyBank Center in the teams' final game prior to Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadline. Gionta must sign with a club by then in order to be eligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs. He has not played in a postseason since 2014 when he was with Montreal.