Saturday night, all 21,273 fans at the Bell Centre will watch and applaud as the Montreal Canadiens Captain skates forward to accept the Jacques Beauchamp trophy.
In what may mark the final regular season game that Gionta plays in a Habs Jersey, it would be a fitting way to say ‘Thank You’ for all the hard work and leadership he’s put into this team.
The trophy is awarded annually to the member of the team who played a dominant role during the regular season without earning any particular honour.
Gionta lead the vote count with 66 total votes, just finishing slightly ahead of Brendan Gallagher, who posted 64 votes.
Gionta, a 35 year old native from Rochester New York, was drafted into the NHL in the 3rd round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (82nd overall) by the New Jersey Devils. He was traded to the Canadiens in 2009, and has since played 302 games wearing le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge. In that time he has amassed 96 goals, 76 assists (172 points), and visited the penalty box for a total of 96 minutes.
He becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of this season, which has some wondering if he will return and play for Le Tricolore, or if there is an impending exit and return to New Jersey to finish out his career.
Gionta became the 27th Captain of the Montreal Canadiens in 2010, taking over the position from Saku Koivu, who was traded to the Anaheim Ducks the previous year.