After re-signing Steve Bernier earlier in the day at one year and $600 thousand, Lou Lamoriello inks his fellow line mate Stephen Gionta for 2 years at $850 thousand per year, as reported by Tom Gulitti here:
Stephen Gionta's 2-year contract carries a cap hit of $850,000 per season.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) July 1, 2014
Gionta becomes the second of the CBGB line to return, leaving only Ryan Carter unsigned at the moment. For all of the underlying numbers surrounding Gionta, in terms of 5v5 play while on that fourth line, look at my article here from Sunday. In summary: they are not great underlying numbers. He has only produced 21 points over the last two seasons. This is not great, but not completely terrible considering that he is a fourth liner. As noted by CJ, Gionta actually scored the third highest points on the team over the last two years in terms of salary. His Goals vs. Salary statistic (GVS) is rather high. So while he has not produced much, he was not expected to.
Other positives to keeping Gionta around are his usage on the penalty kill and poor PDO. Gionta has been a quality penalty killer for the team, and will presumably continue to fill that role this year. He also has been somewhat unlucky, with a PDO under 1000. Therefore, one could expect his numbers to increase this year. But perhaps more than anything else, Gionta is a high motor, high character guy who gives it his all on every shift. Every time you see him out there, he is busting it up and down the ice to try and create something. It makes him one of the fan favorites on this team. I know that I root for him.
Perhaps the worst part about Gionta, however, are his possession statistics, which are some of the worst on this team. If he is to contribute more to this team in the future, the hope is that his possession stats will improve. In the end, however, I am not really upset about the deal. At only $850,000 per year, it is low risk. I am not sure why it had to be a two-year deal, I am sure that he could have been had for 1 year. This would have made it an even lower risk deal. But at this point, you know what you are getting out of Gionta, and he will surely center the fourth line for the next two years. There could certainly be worse players doing that for the Devils. For the price, I like it. Of course, I had wanted Ryan Carter to come back of all the three, and he is still the last to be unsigned. Oh well.
Now that the CBGB line is almost fully resigned, what do you think? Should the Devils bring back Carter as well, or have they done enough with Bernier and Gionta? Are you happy with the Gionta re-signing? What else should Lou and the Devils do in free agency today and in the coming weeks? Please leave your comments below, and thanks for reading.