Brian Gionta is coming back home.
Or at least as close as he can get.
The Buffalo Sabres Tuesday announced the team has signed Gionta to a three-year contract.
Gionta grew up in Greece and graduated from Aquinas in 1997.
He's a 12-year NHL veteran and has spent the past five seasons playing for the Montreal Canadiens, serving as the team’s captain since the 2010-11 season. Prior to the Canadiens, Gionta played seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils, including the 2002-03 Stanley Cup-winning Devils squad.
The Sabres are not close to being playoff ready, but Gionta's leadership is perfect for the super-young Buffalo squad. He's also being joined in the move from Montreal to Buffalo by defenseman Josh Georges. The Sabres sent Montreal a 2nd round pick in the 2016 draft for Georges.
Last year in Montreal, he totaled 40 points (18+22) through 81 regular-season games played and added seven points (1+6) in 17 playoff games.
In his 12 NHL seasons, Gionta has amassed 485 points (249+236) in 776 regular-season games. He has also recorded 45 game-winning goals, 74 power-play goals and a plus-65 rating. He has appeared in 112 playoff games, registering 68 points (32+36). In the 2005-06 season, Gionta set the Devils franchise record for goals in a season with 48.
Gionta was drafted by the Devils in the third round (82nd overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He played four seasons at Boston College (1997-98 – 2000-01), captaining the Eagles to a national championship in 2000-01.