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Canadiens ink Gionta to five year deal

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TSN.ca Staff
7/1/2009 9:36:42 PM
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After playing his entire seven year career in New Jersey, Brian Gionta is on the move having signed a five-year,  $25 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Rochester, New York native enjoyed a solid season with the Devils, picking up 20 goals and adding 40 assists while sporting a plus- 12 rating. He added two goals and three assists in seven playoffs games.

Gionta's best season was in 2005-06 when he scored a career high 48 goals and added 41 assists. He also was part of the Devils Stanley Cup winning side of 2002-03.

One of the smallest players in the league, listed at 5'7'', Gionta was a third round pick, 82nd overall by the Devils in the 1998 NHL entry draft.

Earlier in the day, the Canadiens signed forward Mike Cammalleri to a five-year deal worth $30-million. Also, the Habs inked veteran blueliner Jaroslav Spacek to a three year, $11.5 million contract and defenceman Hal Gill to a two-year, $4.5 million contract.

Gionta will be reunited with Scott Gomez, who the Habs added on Tuesday.  Both players posted their career highs in points in 2005-06 playing together in New Jersey.

"Gionta has a background with Gomez (with New Jersey) and he has a good reputation among the players," Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey told the media. "They know he's a good strong player.

"He's a top player in his position and depending on who he plays with, good things can happen. We hope that he can get back to 75-to-80 point seasons."

Gainey also said that all of Wednesday's additions would likely mean unrestricted free agents Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay all would not return.

The Habs also gave qualifying offers to Tomas Plekanec, Guillaume Latendresse, Kyle Chipchura, Matt D'Agostini and Greg Stewart. The team will look to sign all five restricted free agents to round out the roster.

Brian Gionta (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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