In the midst of the NHL trade deadline, rumors are flying including the Blackhawks interest in veteran forward Brian Gionta.
Rumors are defined in the Webster Dictionary as “Talk or opinion widely disseminated with no discernible source.” They usually carry a negative connotation with them because they are never backed up with hard evidence. But one thing rumors are good for is starting a discussion.
Earlier today, a twitter account titled Sabres Insider reported the Blackhawks are interested in Sabres captain Brian Gionta. Gionta is now 38 years old but is still productive having scored 12 goals and 15 assists this year. He would add some forward depth and bring veteran leadership to the ‘Hawks locker room.
Currently, Gionta carries a $4.25M cap hit and some of that would need to be retained by the Sabres to make the deal work for the ‘Hawks. Gionta is a unrestricted free agent at the end of the season making him just a rental for this year.
Sabres Insider also reported that the asking price for Gionta would be a 3rd round draft pick and a late rounder. GM Stan Bowman has been open about not wanting to trade picks from the 2017 Draft because it is being held in Chicago, but their 2018 3rd round pick is still available.
The Blackhawks are no stranger to bringing on veterans who are at the end of their career so they can “go out on top.” In 2015, they traded for Kimmo Timonen who hadn’t won a Stanley Cup in 15 years in the NHL. Even though he wasn’t a huge contributor down the stretch, his presence added motivation to the team.
When you have a veteran on the team who could be on his way out, having him around adds another element of meaning to winning the Stanley Cup. Players are driven and fight harder so that guy can be one of the first to hoist the cup when they win it all.
Now, it’s not certain that Gionta is at the end of his career and plans to retire but at the age of 38 it’s tough to keep up in the NHL ( Yes, Jagr. I know). Gionta has had a solid career having played 15 season in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup in 2002 with the New Jersey Devils. But winning one more for Gionta could be the cherry on top of a long distinguished career.