Were the Canadiens close to trading Gionta?
According to a report from James Murphy of XN Sports the Montreal Canadiens turned down a trade offer from the New Jersey Devils. The trade would have seen Brian Gionta join the Devils and the Habs would have acquired a 2nd round draft pick and a prospect. This is just a rumor at this point as nothing has been confirmed by a closer source to the Habs organization.
A source (not related to the one above) has said that the New Jersey Devils would have acquired Brian Gionta earlier on deadline day before acquiring forward Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina. The reported deal would have seen the Canadiens retain at least 25% of Gionta’s salary but it is believed that Bergevin was not comfortable in moving his captain at this point in time noting he is too valuable going down the stretch and into the playoffs. The return coming back to the Canadiens in exchange for their captain is unknown.
The Canadiens later traded for Thomas Vanek late in the afternoon and were no longer interested in moving Brian Gionta. If Vanek would have been acquired a day earlier GM Marc Bergevin may have been more comfortable in moving his captain on deadline day knowing he had a replacement. Although I still believe there was a very slight chance Gionta would have been moved on deadline day.