With injuries cutting short his last two seasons, the Canadiens’ captain will
be looking to rebound this year. Despite playing all of last season,
Gionta was felled by a second bicep injury during the playoffs, which must
surely weigh on his mind as his contract expires at the season’s end.
Montreal hasn’t had this much scoring depth in years, so it will be up to Gionta
to prove that he can still contribute in areas other than his leadership.
With Gionta’s game in decline and Montreal’s youth blossoming, will the captain
play well enough to earn minutes and a new contract, or have age and injuries
taken too much of a toll?
After an injury-riddled 2011-12 season, Gionta played every regular season
game until tearing his bicep muscle in the playoffs against the Ottawa Senators.
As is the case when he is healthy, Gionta challenged for the goal-scoring lead,
and his 14 goals were just one short of team leaders Max Pacioretty and Brendan
Gallagher. As one of the few right-handed forwards, Gionta saw plenty of
powerplay time, and his five goals with the man-advantage was second only to
Michael Ryder (8) among Montreal forwards. The captain was used in all
situations, and averaged 18:07 minutes per game, trailing only Tomas Plekanec
among forwards. His 112 shots were good for 5th on the team.
Season Stats: GP 48, G 14, A 12, PTS 26, +/- +3, PIM 8, PPG 5, SHG 0, GWG
3, SOG 112, ATOI 18:07
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s
numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
It is anyone’s guess exactly what line Gionta will play on this season.
Although it seems obvious that he’ll earn Top-9 minutes, it’s unclear who he’ll
be playing with, given all the options that coach Michel Therrien has at his
disposal. Gionta developed some chemistry playing with Tomas Plekanec last
season, so we may see this duo again, flanked by Rene Bourque or Max Pacioretty.
The veteran is likely to continue getting powerplay time, but his minutes may be
reduced with the acquisition of Daniel Briere or if Brendan Gallagher builds upon
his successful rookie campaign.
In points-only leagues, there will be likely better options than Gionta
available. Gionta’s worth will increase in leagues that count +/- or
shots, but those leagues will likely include penalty minutes, and Gionta never
racks up too many penalties (his career-high was 46 PIM). Gionta should
crack 20 goals and will get a fair share of powerplay points, which may make him
a candidate for a late draft selection in deeper leagues.
Have Your Say