Montreal south? Buffalo signs Gionta: three years, $12.75M

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The Montreal-Buffalo rivalry in the Atlantic Division should be spicy next year.

Buffalo, having already acquired Habs alternate captain Josh Gorges earlier today, have now inked ex-Canadiens captain Brian Gionta to a three-year, $12.75 million pact, per Sportsnet.

Gionta, 35, just wrapped a five-year, $25 million deal signed with the Habs in 2008. He had worn the “C” since 2010 and rebounded well from a twice-torn bicep that limited him to 31 games in 2011-12 and forced him to miss the final three games of Montreal’s 2013 postseason.

This season, Gionta scored 18 goals and 40 points in 81 games, but saw his TOI average dip below 18 minutes for the first time in five years. The captain also chipped in with seven points in 17 playoff games, but managed to score just one goal.

He should provide leadership to what promises to be a very young Buffalo team next year, and further helps the team get to the salary cap floor.