Canadiens, Gionta set to begin talks on new contract

Ian McLaren
Perry Nelson / USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens are looking to keep captain and unrestricted free agent Brian Gionta in Montreal, and agent Steve Bartlett told La Presse the two sides will begin discussing a new contract within the coming days.

"We'll probably make progress in our discussions over the next few days," Bartlett said. "We haven't really discussed an amount or length of contract, we've only had a few discussions in very general terms, nothing precise. But I know that the Canadiens want to bring him back and I must now talk about this possibility with my player."

Gionta, 35, scored 18 goals and added 22 assists in 81 regular season games, but contributed only one goal and six assists in the postseason. 

After bringing in $5-million per year over the past five seasons, Bartlett acknowledges his client is likely in line for a pay cut.

"It's realistic to think that the value of Brian is not the same as in 2009," he said. "The present value is a topic that we will discuss, (and) the duration of his next contract. These are issues to be discussed in the coming days."

For his part, Gionta, captain of the team since 2010, "loves Montreal and he loves the team", but according to Bartlett, he also needs to know where he fits into the team's plan, and what his role will be moving forward before coming to an agreement with the club.