By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Brian Gionta – Signed by the Sabres in 2014

The Sabres were obviously at the start of a rebuilding program in the summer of 2014. They were coming off a poor season, and the prospects for an immediate turnaround. The team’s front office thought a little veteran leadership might help, and Brian Gionta agreed to fill that spot for three years at a total of $12.75 million.

Gionta has been a solid winger earlier in his career, peaking with 48 goals for the Devils in 2005-06. He had at least 20 goals in seven straight seasons. In Montreal, his second stop in the NHL, Gionta was captain of the Canadiens for four seasons. Three months after signing the Sabres, he was named captain just before the start of the regular season.

Gionta played three full years as a Sabre, scoring 13, 12 and 15 goals. He had the misfortune of being on the team when it went through the famous “tank” season of 2014-15. Gionta deserved a better fate than that, but he was a pro on some teams that weren’t full of them.

Here’s how he said goodbye:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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